What’s next? What’s left to do?

Though they haven’t exactly filled the back pages along the way, the Yankees have very methodically gone about keeping some very key players this year, plus signing Kevin Youkilis to replace the injured Alex Rodriguez. A lot of people seem to be waiting for the next big move, however, this year’s equivalent to the trades that brought Curtis Granderson and Michael Pineda to town and seemingly came out of nowhere. While I won’t say that nothing like that will happen this year (though I don’t expect to see it happen), I will note that one impediment to such a move is the simple fact that the Yankees don’t have that many open spots on the roster right now. For the sake of illustration, here’s a rundown of the players the Yankees currently have who would seem to be a lock for the 25 man roster.

Starting pitchers

C.C. Sabathia
Hiroki Kuroda
Andy Pettitte
Phil Hughes
Ivan Nova/David Phelps

Bullpen

Mariano Rivera
David Robertson
Joba Chamberlain
David Aardsma
Boone Logan
Clay Rapada

Catchers

Francisco Cervelli
Chris Stewart

Infielders

Mark Teixeira
Robinson Cano
Derek Jeter
Kevin Youkilis

Outfielders

Brett Gardner
Ichiro Suzuki
Curtis Granderson

There’s a little bit of wiggle room here around the margins (Phelps or Nova could go to Triple-A, different relievers could enter the picture), but the overall picture is pretty much the same either way. The Yankees could maybe use a little bit of depth to the starting rotation, and the catching situation is what it is, but for the most part the core of the team is set. There are 12 pitchers on this list, and every starting position in the field is filled as well, with 21 spots taken. Basically the only thing that’s left to do is fill a bench, and find a DH. We know the Yankees want to get a right-handed hitting outfielder, so that in addition to a DH gets us to 23 players, with just the backup infielder spots unfilled.

None of this precludes any additional moves this winter, of course, especially if the Yankees are willing to consider trading players who are already in this picture, but it does mean that the team has the bulk of an Opening Day roster filled out. And given the way they’ve gone about business so far this offseason, I think it’s a better bet than not that we won’t see any major changes to this landscape.

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

10 thoughts on “What’s next? What’s left to do?

  1. Do you think they'll go out and find a full-time DH, or will they rotate starters through DH like last year? That approach would give them the flexibility to put ARod in the DH slot when he's back…

    • BrienJackson

      My guess is that Ibanez comes back and they work out some sort of platoon. If A-Rod is able to return on schedule, I'd say there's a better than even chance the A-lineup has both him and Youkilis if the latter is healthy and productive.

      • BrienJackson

        I guess I should add that, considering how well Ibanez hit RHP last year and the state of the roster right now, I also think this is probably the ideal way for them to address the position.

        • hconnor2001

          Though if he does come back, you've then got four LH-hitting outfielders…

  2. Bill

    Ibanez should definitely return. But what about Nunez? He probably is a candidate for the righty DH slot. I would imagine Jayson Nix will be in camp and should be able to reclaim his utility role. And unless Austin Romine crashes and burns, he's going to get a full shot behind the plate, unless Cashman pulls off a deal. I think a lot of us would be shocked if either Cervelli or Stewart were the Opening Day catcher. One of them will be on the roster, but not both.

  3. Frank S.

    Not to sound like one of those #yourtradeproposalsucks guys, but I think Cash should inquire with the Mets about John Buck. He'd definitely be an improvement over Cervelli/Stewart, and it may take only a second tier prospect or two to pry him loose. Plus Georgie Girl Waldman luvs him.

  4. Mike

    Some amateur armchair GMing from me:

    1) Sign Ibanez to be your lefty DH
    2) Give Noonie the chance to start as your righty DH (135 wRC+ in 55 PAs vs L in 2012; 106 wRC+ vs L in 202 career PAs) + he's adding value on the basepaths. I also think his strong postseason earns him that chance.
    3) Nix as utility man
    4) Introduce a little anarchy and sign AJ Pierzynski. Would you rather roll the dice on Pierzynski that he can give you average defense with the possibility of 20 HRs (as a lefty in Yankee Stadium) or take your chances on a platoon of Romine/Stewart/Cervy?
    5) I'm guessing Nova starts out as the 5th and Phelpsy as long relief, with Adam Warren waiting in the wings in case of injury/gross incompetence (age 25 with 155 IP over 53 starts of above avg work in AAA last 2 years: 3.66 ERA / 3.89 FIP)
    6) As for a 4th/righty OF, I have no idea

    Potential mid-season "acquisitions" coming back from injuries: A-Rod and Pineda

    • Somehow I'm thinking Ibanez ends up a Texas Ranger…

  5. williamjtasker

    I see Nunez as the back up infielder and DH. Flexibility. He can rest Youkilis and Jeter and then Teixeira can get a day off now and then with Youkilis at first.. Then a backup outfielder (RH please!). I don't see Nix as anything but a roster spot waster.

  6. chris

    Not sure Ibanez will sign at this point. I think he is looking for a 2 year deal. AJ is still an outside shot but I think he wants more than 1 year as well. The catcher spot may wind up being weak for the first half of the year, but as long as the Yanks are hanging around near the top, they could always pick someone up for half a year after the break from a team out of contention. Ditto for other areas that may need help at that point. IF (big IF) Arod comes back healthy and Youklis is doing well, I see Youk being the DH and spelling AROD and Tex here and there. I think that is the mentality of Cashman as well (hold it together until July, see what is out there and hope AROD comes back).

Comments are closed.