Following a hit by pitch turned injury for Aaron Judge, he will be missing from the lineup for at least three weeks. How will the Yankees find a way to stay competitive without him?
On Friday night, the Yankees universe held its breath as Judge got nailed on the wrist by a 93.4 MPH fastball. He threw his bat to the side obviously frustrated and walked to first base. As the night progressed Judge was taken out of the game to get an X-ray on his wrist. You could tell just how much of an impact Judge’s absence had on the Yankee’s fan base as you saw the candlelight vigil light up the night in Yankee Stadium.
We found out later that night after an MRI that Judge had a chip fracture in his wrist and wouldn’t be able to swing a bat in a game situation for the next three weeks.
The Yankees are going to miss their big slugger, but who is supposed to fill in? Will the Yankees stick with their coveted farm system or will Cashman go out to the trade market and find a cheap right fielder to fill the gap until Judge comes back? Who will make up for all of the offense that Judge usually provides? Will the Yankees be able to keep up with the Red Soxs without Judge?
These are things that Yankee fans are dying to know, so let’s break it all down.
What Are The Yankees Missing?
The baseball side of Judge will greatly be missed by a team that has to face their inter-division rival that they trail by five games in the standings as of Friday night in just a week. Judge is the heart of the Yankee’s offense leading the team in home runs, RBIs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, walks, and offensive WAR. Not only that but Aaron Judge has absolutely smashed against the Red Sox this year to the tune of hitting .455 with four home runs and nine RBIs.
What will be missed even more is Judge’s defensive prowess. Judge is the Yankees second best fielder next to Gardy party at a 0.9 dWAR. That dWAR also ranks first among all right fielders in the MLB.
To go beyond baseball, Judge is very clearly the leader of this team. Even though Judge will still be with the team it’s hard to run into battle without your general leading you. Judge’s leadership will be missed more than his offensive skill and the team will suffer slightly getting used to Judge not being in the lineup for the next three weeks.
The Yankees have a lot to consider before 4:00 P.M. EST July 31st. But now that Judge has been placed on the DL the front office has two options that it needs to decide on. Whether the Yankees can choose the in-house option of sticking to the farm system and Stanton to fill in the hole that Judge left in the lineup or should Cashman go shopping on the trade market.
Sticking with what the Yankees have will be the most likely outcome. What seemed like the deepest outfield in the MLB now seems not deep enough as the Yankees are frantically searching for someone other than Stanton to replace Judge in right field.
Clint Frazier would usually be Cashman’s go-to guy when it comes to an injury in the outfield, but Judge joined Clint on the DL after a dive in Triple-A that brought back concussion symptoms.
If they do let Stanton man right field then the question is who will fill in at the DH. Most likely it will be a rotation of guys who need some time off. You will see guys like Gleyber Torres, Neil Walker, Miguel Andujar, and maybe even some outfielders as well.
If Cashman decides that the Yankees won’t be able to handle Judge’s absence without some help there are plenty of options to look at. One that comes to mind is a reunion that most Yankee fans will be very happy about. Welcome, Curtis Granderson! The Grandy Man’s name has been thrown around by Yankees fan and could be picking up steam with the front office as well.
Not only is Granderson’s contract cheap and he wouldn’t cost that much from the Blue Jays as they are already in a selling mood but Granderson seems to be getting hot after a fantastic performance Friday night against the White Sox. Not only would Granderson be a great bat to add in Judge’s absence but would also be a fantastic guy to have during the playoffs to either pinch hit or pinch run.
There are a few other options on the market such as Jose Bautista, Adam Jones, Cameron Maybin or Danny Valencia but none seem better than a reunion with the Grandy Man himself.
Breathe, It’s All Going To Be Okay
While Judge’s wrist injury seems like a huge step backward for the Yankees I’ll give you a couple reasons why the Yankees will be perfectly fine in this upcoming three week period.
First is Giancarlo Stanton, who looks to go on a major hot streak. Stanton must have August 1 circled on the calendar every year because he absolutely smashes when it comes to the month of August.
In 168 games, Stanton possesses video game-like numbers. Stanton has a slash line of .283/.381/.620, an OPS of 1.001, and hits a home run every 10.8 at-bats in the month of August. These three weeks will be some of the most important weeks for Stanton in his whole Yankee career and he knows that just as much as every other Yankee fan does.
The reigning NL MVP will step up to the plate this August and not only hit home runs but will also prove that he is the leader and the player that the Yankees traded for back in the Winter.
The second reason why the Yankees will cruise through this period with ease. The Yankees have the second easiest record in all of the MLB over the next three weeks. The Yankees will only have to play two teams over .500 (that being the Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays) and this is the perfect time for the Yankees to capitalize and hopefully win back the AL East.
Therefore, the Yankees will be fine without Judge. Though he will be missed, Stanton will do a great job of filling the hole that Judge is gone and with the strength of the schedule it shouldn’t be hard to keep on winning just like the Yankees do best.