Yankees outfielders Aaron Judge (right pectoral discomfort) and Giancarlo Stanton (Grade 1 calf strain) are unlikely to be ready for Opening Day, GM Brian Cashman told media members on Tuesday morning:
Stanton was already widely expected to miss the Yankees’ opener, but the news that Judge is also expected to be out further complicates things during what has been a highly unfortunate spring training for the Yankees. Since February 1, the Bronx Bombers have revealed that James Paxton will miss extended time after back surgery, Luis Severino will miss the season following Tommy John surgery, that Stanton will get off to a late start due to the calf issue, and now that Judge’s status is up in the air as the team’s medical staff continues to evaluate his pectoral injury.
This is just another frustrating development for the 27-year-old Judge, who has been held back by injuries since his Rookie of the Year, near-MVP campaign in 2017. Judge missed exactly two months with a left oblique strain last season, and the year before he missed nearly two months with a right wrist fracture. He’s seen his production drop off as a result — after hitting .284/.422/.627 with an AL-leading 52 homers in 2017, he hit .278/.493/.528 with 27 homers in ‘18, then .272/.381/.540 with another 27 home runs last year.
This injury news — and the fact that Aaron Hicks will miss at least part of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery last fall — makes the Yankees’ decision to let Cameron Maybin walk in free agency look increasingly bad. With Brett Gardner presumably locked into the Opening Day lineup, the Yankees’ other candidates to start in the outfield at the beginning of the regular season include Clint Frazier, Mike Tauchman, Tyler Wade, Trey Amburgey, Zack Granite, Rosell Herrera, and perhaps Miguel Andújar. As their outfield depth continues to erode, it’s worth wondering whether the Yankees might consider adding a free-agent outfielder such as Yasiel Puig or Melky Cabrera, at least on a minor-league deal.