Free of obstructed views and fair-weathered opinions
Guess the Roster v2.0
Here we are, Yankees fans. Pitchers and catchers report to Tampa in one week and some position players get some early work in. Warm, sunny weather takes over for blistering cold temperatures up north. The crack of the bat and the ball pounding the glove become music to our collective ears. And roster spots are won and lost.
In the days since my initial guess of the roster, there were more low-risk minor league signings designed to add depth in case of injury and potentially fight for roster spots. And the issue of starting pitching got a little clearer, albeit at the expense of many fans’ sanity. Questions remain unanswered, but that is the joy of spring training — anticipating how the team will take shape in the coming weeks before the Yankees head back up to the Bronx for their March 31st season opener:
SS Derek Jeter, CF Curtis Granderson, 1B Mark Teixeira, 3B Alex Rodriguez, 2B Robinson Cano, RF Nick Swisher, DH Jorge Posada, C Russell Martin, LF Brett Gardner
The personnel stays the same, but I thought I’d give a different variation of what Joe Girardi might go with to start the season. Grandy’s improvement late in the season would reward him with the #2 spot in the order, thus keeping Jeter in the lead-off spot. Gardner’s speed in the #9 spot is an excellent tool in turning over the lineup and keeping the pressure on the defense. Martin hitting lower in the order in a hitter’s park like Yankee Stadium should help him rebound from an abysmal last two years.
C Francisco Cervelli, IF Ramiro Pena, IF Eduardo Nunez, OF Andruw Jones
I’ve got a gut feeling that the bench will be the last to be finalized. While Cervelli, Pena, Nunez and Jones are the favorites, there are just too many options to consider. Top prospect Jesus Montero looms in Scranton, and he can easily force Girardi to play him with his tremendous bat. Greg Golson, Colin Curtis and Kevin Russo all gained valuable experience last season and can step in in the event of an injury. Proven IFs Eric Chavez and Ronnie Belliard were brought in on minor-league deals, adding a welcomed veteran presence to this area of the team. It should make for a interesting spring battle.
CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett, Freddy Garcia, Ivan Nova
While Andy Pettitte’s retirement broke many Yankees fans’ hearts, it also meant that the rotation picture got a bit clearer. Garcia and Bartolo Colon were brought on to compete with Nova and Sergio Mitre for the final two spots. Aside from the back end, there’s still the story of Dr. A.J. and Mr. Burnett. The $82.5M man was the first Yankee SP with a 5.00-plus ERA since 1992 and will try to show fans that his 2010 season was a fluke. Hughes will look to further build upon his All-Star season, and CC should hopefully continue to be the workhorse he has been. I know the rotation has gotten weaker recently, but this is where Brian Cashman’s patience mantra needs to be at its strongest. There’s no telling which potential trade targets develop, and there’s always a chance Garcia or Colon actually perform well.
Mariano Rivera, Rafael Soriano, David Robertson, Pedro Feliciano, Boone Logan, Joba Chamberlain, Sergio Mitre
Much like the lineup, the personnel stays the same. While Meat Tray will surely be in the running for a rotation spot (why that is, I’ll never know), it is more likely that he will be the long reliever on Opening Day.
There you go, boys and girls: my Guess the Roster remix. With more options this time around than the previous version, it should make for one helluva spring training at Steinbrenner Field.