— Jedd Gyorko (@JGyorko05) March 28, 2014
Ex-teammate, Jedd Gyorko of the Padres tweeted out a congratulations to Dean Anna a little prematurely. Anna has made the Yankees’ 25-man roster, earning the 24th spot and the first infield utility spot on the 2014 Yankees. The left-handed hitter is highly versatile in the field, with experience in every position that’s not catcher, center fielder, or pitcher. (Though he’s made it clear he’s willing to catch if necessary.)
Anna is a very patient hitter, and walked 277 times in the minor leagues, compared to 294 strikeouts. He showed this patience in Spring Training, and his 6 walks earned him a .268/.375/.293 average. Anna also had a little bit of pop in his bat, but you wouldn’t know it from his minor league home run totals. Despite playing in the Pacific Coast League and Texas League, two hitter friendly environments, both ballparks he played in over the last 3 seasons, San Antonio and Tucson, are very pitcher-friendly against left-handed hitters. His swing should play well in Yankee Stadium, and a few of his 38 doubles and 5 triples from 2013 might translate into home runs in the Bronx.
With Anna securing a spot on the 25-man roster, the Yankees don’t have to lose a player on the packed 40-man roster. The Yankees still need 1 more utility infielder, and Joe Girardi says it’s going to be one of Eduardo Nunez or Yangervis Solarte, assuming no outside moves are made. Nunez has a spot on the 40-man roster, and Solarte would require one if he was chosen. In this scenario, Nunez has an upper hand because he wouldn’t require the Yankees to clear a spot and lose a player, and he also has an option that can be exercised when Brendan Ryan returns from the disabled list. That said, Nunez has remained awful in the field, and his bat is hardly worth the cost. Solarte was red hot this month, but this decision might come down to long term strategy rather than the hot hand.