Rounding up the 2011 position battles

As the Old Guard bows out...
Yankees sign Luis Ayala to a minor league deal
h8 bunts. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)

Given the general construction of the roster from year to year, the Yankees have very few position battles in Spring Training. Last season it was the fifth starter’s job (gift wrapped for Phil Hughes) plus some miscellaneous bench and bullpen jobs, and the year before that Brett Gardner and Melky Cabrera had to duke it out for the centerfield job. That’s pretty much it, it’s not often the Yankees have a position up for grabs and need to fill it in camp, at least not a significant position anyway.

This year is no different. Everyone knows about the fifth starter’s job and the last spot on the bench, but there’s also a spot in the bullpen to be decided and the backup shortstop is still an unknown. Let’s recap the positions still up for grabs in camp this spring…

Position: Utility Infielder
Candidates: Ramiro Pena, Eduardo Nunez

The Yankees need to carry someone on the bench capable of playing shortstop, and these two are the only guys on the 40-man roster capable of doing so (meh, I guess Derek Jeter qualifies). Pena is the incumbent while Nunez is the (apparent) hot shot prospect, and both bring different things to the table. Pena is all defense while Nunez can hit for an empty average and play a little defense. The Yankees apparently believe that Nunez is a future everyday shortstop, and if that’s the case, sitting on the bench five or six days a week won’t help his development. My guess is that Pena gets the job for a third straight season.

Position: Backup Catcher
Candidates: Frankie Cervelli, Jesus Montero, Austin Romine

Russell Martin has already been declared the catcher, and Brian Cashman has maintained that there will be an open competition for the backup job. That sounds great, but the choice here is pretty obvious. Cervelli backs up Martin while Montero and Romine play every single day in the minors. Hey, it’s great to say there’s a competition to motivate everyone, but the Yankees won’t have to spend much time mulling this one over.

(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Position: Last Man On The Bench
Candidates: Pena, Nunez, Ronnie Belliard, Eric Chavez, Justin Maxwell, Colin Curtis, Greg Golson, Kevin Russo

I already explored this a few days ago so I’ll keep it short. Maxwell and Nunez should play everyday for Triple-A Scranton rather than rot on the big league bench, while Golson, Russo, and Curtis really don’t offer much to the team. Belliard and Chavez at least bring veteran presents (the kids will love ‘em) and in Belliard’s case, familiarity with the role. Chavez is a lefty bat, something the bench lacks, which helps his cause. I don’t believe he’ll be able to stay healthy for any length of time though, so I suspect Mini-Manny will get the job almost by default.

Position: Fifth Starter
Candidates: Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon, Sergio Mitre, misc. prospects

I’m assuming that Ivan Nova will get the fourth spot, a fairly safe bet. Mitre has started a dozen games for New York over the last two years (three in 2010), and his shiny 3.33 ERA last year masked a miniscule strikeout rate (4.83 K/9) and homer tendencies (1.17 HR/9). The Experience can get grounders like a mofo (50.9% last year, 58.7% career), pretty much is only redeeming quality. Colon reportedly threw well in winter ball (where he was managed by bench coach Tony Pena), but it’s been a full year since he was on the big league mound and about four years since he was effective. Now 37, he’s definitely the long shot of the bunch.

Garcia is probably the front-runner based on 157 innings he threw last year that were unquestionably below average but still better than replacement level, which is what Mitre and Colon seem destined to be. The Yankees have some minor league depth to try out, namely Hector Noesi, D.J. Mitchell, and David Phelps, but they’re all in need of more Triple-A seasoning and shouldn’t have their development path altered when a guy like Garcia can be thrown to the wolves for the first month or two of the season. One of them could surprise in camp, for sure, but I’d rather see the kids be the fallback option and not the first attempt at a solution.

Position: Long Reliever
Candidates: Same as the Fifth Starter, plus Romulo Sanchez, Daniel Turpen, Robert Fish, Ryan Pope, Brian Schlitter

Six of the seven bullpen spots are already accounted for (Mariano Rivera, Rafael Soriano, Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson, Pedro Feliciano, Boone Logan), so that last spot will end up going to someone capable of throwing three or four innings at a clip. Romulo is out-of-options, meaning he has to pass through waivers to go back to the minors, and chances are he’ll be a goner at some point. Turpen and Fish are Rule 5 Draft picks, so unless they spend the entire 2011 season on the 25-man active roster, they’ll have to be offered back to their original clubs. Expect them to be gone before the end of Spring Training. Pope and Schlitter are short relievers with no and little big league experience, respectively, and I’m willing to bet they’ll be riding the Scranton-New York express all summer.

That leaves the guys from the fifth starter competition, so it seems like the runner-up for the last rotation spot gets the last bullpen spot as a consolation prize. Mitre is probably the best fit here, since he has experience as a long reliever and filled that role just last year. Either way, just like every other job listed in those post, the long man is sure to change over the course of the season, so don’t get too attached.

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As the Old Guard bows out...
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  • Esteban

    There’s a whole lot of yuck in there. But I guess that comes with the territory. If Martin’s bat doesn’t rebound, the pressure will be on to bring up Jesus, because the Yankees are not going to want to get zero offense from their catchers.

    • Lopez

      im kinda hoping martin doesnt succeed so we can get monteroup to the bigs

  • AndrewYF

    Do the Yankees really need 12 pitchers to start the year? Especially with the off-days, the fifth starter can oftentimes be used as the long-reliever.

    I think it’s more advantageous to have one more bench player. If Chavez can prove he can still play in the major leagues, and Maxwell shows he’s a good defender, that’s more useful (for spelling A-Rod/Teixeira in the case of Chavez, pinch-running or late-inning defensive replacement for Swisher in the case of Maxwell) than having some awful guy sitting in the bullpen for days on end not being used.

    • Ted Nelson

      I don’t know that they have to do anything, but if you have back-to-back games where your starter needs to be pulled in the 2nd or 3rd inning it sure would be nice to have a long-man.

      I don’t have a strong feeling either way, but Swisher can spell Tex (or maybe Posada can too) and the Yankees will likely have someone on the roster capable of spelling A-Rod (though it might be Pena…).

    • NJYankeeFan

      Since the only starter who can be expected to give you length consistently is CC, I think they’re gonna need all the arms they can in the pen. Nova and Garcia are probably 5 inning guys, Burnett even when he used to be good was about a 6 inning guy and Hughes needs to become more eficient as well.

      • Ted Nelson

        Garcia has averaged 5.75 innings/start since coming back from injury, but I guess we can just assume he’ll average 5 this season because we feel like it.

    • Urban

      There is an absolute need for a long man, especially with the loss of Pettitte and the weak back-end of the rotation, which will not give the Yankees length and will suffer blow-out games.

      Aceves would have been great for this role if he was healthy, but obviously they must not think he’ll hold up for what amounted to 200K. I mean, the minimum salary is about 450K, so the difference between that and what the Red Sox are paying Ace is 200K.

      • Ted Nelson

        “the weak back-end of the rotation, which will not give the Yankees length and will suffer blow-out games.”

        Nova didn’t give them length, but he had one 6 run outing in 7 starts last season. It’s a small sample, but that’s a 3.5 “blowouts” per 25 starts pace (Hughes and CC both had 7 starts with 5 or more ERs last season). Maybe he got lucky and gets exposed this season, but maybe he’s developing and improves this season. Colon or Mitre could also push him to AAA/pen to start the season, and Phelps/Noesi/Brackman/Mitchell/trade acq. could push him out mid-season.

        Garcia has averaged 5.75 innings/start since returning from injury. Decent length. He had a few blowouts last season, but 3 or fewer runs in 21 of 28 starts.

        I think a long-man is wise too, just saying I don’t think their back-end has to be bad. I expect a bit more from them, but Hughes and Burnett could be just as bad as #4 and 5. And that’s the real problem with the rotation–there’s no #2 starter–though I’m not overly worried about it.

        “obviously they must not think he’ll hold up for what amounted to 200K.”

        I don’t think it’s about $200k so much as thinking they were better off with Mitre than Aceves. I have no idea if that’s correct, but I think that’s what it was.

  • Ted Nelson

    Garcia has allowed 3 or fewer runs in 28 of 37 starts since returning from injury late in 2009 (75% of his starts) and averaged 5.75 innings per start in that time…

    Sometimes looking beyond season averages and FIP can reveal some interesting details.

    “when a guy like Garcia can be thrown to the wolves for the first month or two of the season.”

    Again, 75% of his last 37 starts he’s given up 3 or fewer runs. Pitching in the AL. He’s been thrown to the wolves for a decade and he’s done fine. Garcia is a good 5th starter. Good 4th starter even. And the Yankees got him on a minor league deal, which is an absolute steal.

    I am more confident in Garcia’s 2011 performance than Nova’s by a wide margin.

    He had one stinker start against Toronto his 2nd start of the season, but he averaged 6 innings/start at about his season average ERA (4.8 AL East, 4.64 overall) against the AL East last season and allowed 2 or fewer ERs in 3 of his 5 starts (7 innings in each of those 3). None of those starts came against Baltimore.
    4 of his 5 starts against the AL East he he pitched at least 6 innings with 4 or fewer ERs. But, yeah, the guy is just awful because he had 4 truly awful starts last season that distort his season averages. Take out those 4 starts and just call them losses, and his ERA would have been 3.41 last season.

    From a 4th or 5th starter I’ll take a guy who just outright loses you 4 or 5 games, but pitches to a 3.41 ERA in over 6 innings per start across the other 24 starts. His health is a question mark, but again he’s your 4th or 5th starter. Another year removed from injury might mean he’s more fully healed and could be even better than last season.

    • nsalem

      I agree with Ted. Garcia had more quality starts then any Yankee save for CC. Mitre has only 1 in 13 starts in his Yankee career.
      If Hughes had 18 wins with 15 quality starts, Garcia may be a pleasent surprise. Think positive

      • camilo Gerardo

        75% he threw 3 or less earned runs in X innings?

    • NJ Andy

      Really excellent points all around.

      I think there’s still concern about his pitches declining velocity, his high hr/9, and his low k/9. Soft tossing, pitch to contact guys don’t do well in the Stadium.

      Nova at least has exciting upside potential. Not to be an ace, but it’s still fun to watch young guys develop and mature. Garcia is someone we have to just pray holds on to what little he’s got left.

      • Danimal

        Neither do hard tossing, pitch to contact guys either.

        See: Farnsworth, Kyle…

      • RL

        Not to be an ace, but it’s still fun to watch young guys develop and mature.

        Quite true. I don’t think Andy was perceived as being an ace, but he sure was fun to watch over his career! We don’t need to have all aces (although it wouldn’t hurt). Serviceable starters that develop and learn the game can be quite fun as well, especially when they’re developed from within.

      • Ted Nelson

        “Garcia is someone we have to just pray holds on to what little he’s got left.”

        Again, I disagree. I think he projects to be a solid 4th starter for the Yankees. He may be a higher injury risk than average, but injuries happen. Since coming back on August 18 2009 he’s thrown 213 innings across 37 starts. It’s not like he’s Mark Prior or something. He’s 35, so it’s not like he’s ancient.

        “Soft tossing, pitch to contact guys don’t do well in the Stadium.”

        It’s a very small sample, but in 2 starts against the best offense in baseball at the stadium the last two years he’s held his own. 6 IP 3 ERs and 6 IP 4 ERs. Against the Yankees at times when they were the best offense in baseball in terms of wOBA the month he pitched and the best or second best the month after he pitched (both starts came on the 30th of the month).

        “it’s still fun to watch young guys develop and mature.”

        It’s not an either/or thing. Nova can make the rotation AND Garcia can make it. It’s fun to win and it’s fun to get a solid #4 starter on a minor league deal.

        • NJYankeeFan

          Before last year, Garcia had pitched less than 100 innings in the 3 previous years combined. I’d bet there’s at least a 50% chance he’ll be out of the rotation due to either injury or ineffectiveness by July 1. He may be only 34 but he’s got about 2000 innings on that arm. How many right handed starters with 87 MPH fastballs are effective? No one would even give him a major league contract after all.

          • Ted Nelson

            “Before last year, Garcia had pitched less than 100 innings in the 3 previous years combined.”

            Besides for 58 + 15 + 57 > 100, that’s not the whole story. He pitched 58 inning in 2007 before going down, hiding a shoulder injury. Then he went down. He missed almost all of 2008, managing only 15 innings in the bigs and 5 in the minors. He couldn’t even make the Mets out of spring training in 2009. Since he got back to the majors on August 18 2009 he’s thrown 213 innings.

            He’s an increased risk maybe due to his past history (I’m not a doctor). But, this is a guy who threw over 200 innings 7 out of 8 seasons before that injury, and had again thrown 200 innings in a season and a quarter since the injury. There was durability, there was an injury, there has been decent durability since.

            Not signing a major league deal doesn’t mean Garcia might not have gotten one on some crap team in some crap city. He said he wanted to be a Yankee before he signed. Perhaps enough to leave a mill or two in guaranteed money on the table and not have to live in Kansas City or Cleveland and lose 100 games for half a year. He’s made close to $50 mill on his career and might not need the money as much as the shot at winning and having fun. He’s also been on minor league league deals his last 3 contracts, so he might not mind or even like the motivation they provide.

            • NJYankeeFan

              No Garcia signed a minor league contract because no one offered him a major league contract. No one is going to turn down guaranteed money to audition with a bunch of other guys to be the Yankees 5th starter. It either amazingly optimistic or more likely delusional that you think this guy is going to be a solid starter for the Yankees.

            • NJYankeeFan

              Not even Mike Axisa, who is usually pretty optimistic and upbeat about the Yankees is impressed with Garcia as witnessed in his article above in which he wrote

              “Garcia is probably the front-runner based on 157 innings he threw last year that were unquestionably below average…”
              and

              “Hector Noesi, D.J. Mitchell, and David Phelps, but they’re all in need of more Triple-A seasoning and shouldn’t have their development path altered when a guy like Garcia can be thrown to the wolves for the first month or two of the season.

              If he makes more than 15 starts for the Yankees, they’re missing the playoffs for sure.

            • NJYankeeFan

              If you don’t believe me or Mike, try this article on for size from fangraphs.

              http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs.....the-yanks/

              They don’t seem too bullish on Garcia either.

      • http://aandecili@comcast.net Tono73

        i believe if Nova get’s a shot at staying,i think he will surprise many people..he already had a taste & did’nt do bad!what i like about him is that he does’nt give you the impression that he’s nervous & or afraid to challenge who’s at the plate…what do the yankees have to loose,give this kid a chance!!!

  • Ted Nelson

    “Nunez is the (apparent) hot shot prospect”

    I don’t think anyone is calling him a hotshot, just a guy who is capable of playing SS in the major league and not being totally awful with the bat. Maybe he flops or develops more than expected, but reasonable to expect replacement level or a bit better.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/teams.....ason1=2010

    Not an exact measure, but there were 4 teams whose SS in 2010 combined to be below replacement level. Fully 1/2 of MLB teams got 2 or fewer WAR combined from their SSs. 17 teams SSs combined for a wOBA of .302 or lower, with 6 teams .276 or lower. 20 of 30 teams got a wOBA of .308 or lower from their SSs.

    So, yes, a (young, cost controlled) replacement level or slightly better SS does have value. I don’t see why you have such an ax to grind with Eduardo Nunez that you refuse to acknowledge that fact. He doesn’t have to even be decent with the bat to be better than 50% of major league SS.

    • mike

      Because if a replacement level player who likely will not have any impact on the ML club this year got in the way of Lee not only being a Yankee last year ( and perhaps another champoinship) and quite possibly having him help anchor a questionable staff for the next 5 years, it causes me to question Mr Cash…..

      • Ted Nelson

        That’s just rumors and speculation. Why waste your time? The prominent rumors, anyway, are that the Yankees had no chance once the Rangers offered Smoak. If you’re going to base your reactions on rumors, shouldn’t you at least go with the consensus rumors?

        And even if that rumor was true Nunez was a sidedish to Montero. A throw-in. In 5 years you might be thanking Cashman every single day when Lee is making $25 mill as a 36 year old 3rd starter with another $27.5 possibly coming his way at 37 and Montero is a good middle of the order bat and only 25 years old.

    • http://www.facebook.com/dougchu Doug

      “Hotshot” is a relative term here. There isn’t much room for Peña to improve based on his potential – he’ll never hit without BABIP-derived divine intervention. Nuñez looks like he has a rocket strapped to his back in comparison.

      • Ted Nelson

        That’s pretty much my point. The context here is that Mike Axisa is very low on Nunez to the point where he bashes him at just about every possible opportunity. Hence the “(apparent)” before “hot shot” in his article.

        I can understand not having a high opinion of the guy–Law didn’t put him in his top 10 Yankee prospects for example (not sure if he’s still rookie eligible but I assume so)–but my point is that his value is relative to other SS. Even if he’s slightly below replacement level, he can be a starting SS somewhere.

        • Accent Shallow

          if he’s slightly below replacement level, he can be a starting SS somewhere.

          Like Scranton, for instance.

          • Ted Nelson

            I don’t know if you bothered reading what I wrote or just felt like being a smart-ass, but 4 ML teams got below replacement level production from their SSs last season. Those 4 teams had an average payroll of $82 million so they weren’t in the poor house. Another 11 teams got 2 or fewer WAR from their SSs. 4 of the 8 playoff teams were among that group (with the Yankees coming in at 2.2).

            Really clever remark, though, way to completely ignore the truth and be a smart-ass!

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

              way to completely ignore the truth

              Nothing about his comment is a lie.

              • Ted Nelson

                Ignoring the truth is not the same as lying Mike, so I’m not quite sure what your comment means.

                • Ted Nelson

                  4 teams got below replacement level production from their collective SSs in 2010. 3 teams in 2009 (with another 2 at 0.2 WAR). 4 teams in 2008.

                  So, the truth is that Nunez–or any other SS–could start in the MLs while being slightly below replacement. (And that at 2 WAR he could be an average starter.) It is also true that he could start in Scranton. You can ignore the truth that he could start on a ML team without lying.

                  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                    Who’s lying?

                    • Ted Nelson

                      My point is that I never implied or said that anything about his comment was a lie.

                      However, in light of its context I felt like it was a smart-ass remark that ignored the truth about starting SS around MLB. Basically that it implied a below replacement SS can not start in MLB, which is just not true.

                      My larger point is that I think Nunez has a good chance of being slightly above replacement, and a slightly above replacement SS isn’t far off from an average starting SS in MLB. An average of 15.2 SS have produced above 1.5 WAR over the past 5 seasons, so if a team is high on Nunez they might project him to have a good shot at being an average SS or close. The Brewers fancy themselves a contender and are “all-in” this season, but their starting SS has averaged about .45 WAR per season across 5.5 ML seasons. Cesar Izturis is a good fielder, but the guy’s career wOBA is .274 and he’s still averaged 460 PAs the past three seasons.

    • Urban

      Replacement level is a pretty low standard. Nunez is above replacement level.

      • Ted Nelson

        Was being somewhat conservative and saying that even if Mike Axisa is low on Nunez and thinks he projects to be about replacement level, that still has value. If Mike projects him to be above replacement at SS, then he definitely has value.

  • Januz

    I really do not think Nunez will be with the team when it breaks camp (Unless there is an injury). He along with a catcher (Austin Romine?), and either Joba or minor league starting pitching (Anyone not named Brett Marshall), could be the chips needed to secure a starting pitcher (Chris Carpenter comse to mind).

  • C-Mac

    No love for laird-y? One would think he had an outside shot, no?

    • Rick in Boston

      Nah, Laird needs to play everyday in AAA. Right now, he’s also limited to only being a corner IF. They’ll rotate him between 3B and an OF corner in Scranton, giving him some flexibility value for either a future bench job or as trade bait.

      • The Evil Umpire

        I don’t know if its just me, but I could see a Jim Leyritz-type career in the cards for Laird (minus the catching).

  • LarryM.,Fl.

    Assuming the infield position players stay healthy. I agree with your thoughts on Nunez being sent down to AAA. Because he looks like a solid replacement at SS in the makes. I don’t agree with “hotshot” label by any stretch of the imagination. Pena who gets such little respect by the media and those commenting has some pluses IMHO. He’s great with the glove, handles the limited AB’s as well as anybody. He knows his spot has performed well the last two years. Shortstop, Third or second the guy can field. If your going to rest infield one day a week then keep Nunez here and let him play and ship Pena out.

    Maxwell looks like a diamond in the rough with some work at AAA. I would love to see someone from the group of pretenders for 4 or 5 slot in the rotation establish themselves with consistent pitching that gives us a chance to win. Then in July pick some teams budget drop and improve upon what we have.

    Montero needs at least 3 months until July to be a consistent catcher as a fill-in. He maybe here sooner if Posada gets hurt or a catcher gets hurt. But Cervelli can handle the position as backup just looking for some more driving of the ball and better defensive play behind the plate as he is known for.

    All things considered the Yank will be very competitive for the playoffs.

    • Ted Nelson

      I agree with the main point, but I think this is an overstatement: “handles the limited AB’s as well as anybody. He knows his spot has performed well the last two years.”

  • C-Mac

    Question: the Yankees are on record saying that Jesus can catch now in the major leagues. What exactly does he have then to learn in AAA? I think the back up competition is a competition like last year, that is, its Montero’s to lose, I think. Cervelli was exposed last year as a poor hitter AND receiver, and Montero would learn more at this point with the big league club than in AAA. It just doesn’t make sense.

    • Clayton K.

      Montero will learn the very valuable skill of pushing his abritration clock back if he spends the first month or two in AAA.

      • Danimal

        somebody had to say it…

        • Hank

          Assuming of course the next CBA doesn’t completely change the arbitration clock….

    • rbizzler

      Just because the Yanks said that Jesus “can catch and throw in the ML” doesn’t mean that there isn’t still room for improvement. I think that starting Jesus in SWB means he can continue to work on his D in a less pressure filled environment. Plus, I think that the Yanks would like to increase the chances of initial success with the bat by having him start off in the minors and call him up when he heats up (as long as that coincides with any service time issues).

    • David

      It makes all kinds of sense. It delays arbitration, and it allows him to develop better. What they would like is for Martin and Cervelli to start the year and do well, with Montero destroying AAA again, in addition to polishing his catching skills. Now they are in a fabulous position. Either we get offered something for Montero that nobody would turn down, or he takes over later. Huge win either way.

    • LarryM.,Fl.

      To C-Mac: Montero has a plus bat at the levels that he has played. His catching skills are not very polished from all that I have read. Sure he can catch major league pitchers but can he frame a pitch on the outside corner or inside. Sure he can reach second base with authority but accuracy and speed of release count too. I wasn’t knocking Montero just suggesting a little more time to qualify his skills for the bigs. If he goes North after ST his playing time and bat will waste away by not playing. Bring him up when he can play almost everyday.

      As far as the Yankees are concerned should they say he can’t catch at the big league level. Patience.

  • http://twitter.com/steveh_MandAura Steve H

    I think if Colon shows anything in spring training you find a way to keep him around. He’s not going to be healthy all year, but if you can get some solid innings out of him before he goes down, you might as well. The cost is minimal enough. If he does show anything in ST and they don’t keep him, you can be sure he’d end up somewhere else as opposed to the minors.

    • rbizzler

      Starting the year with both Bartolo and Garcia in the rotation wouldn’t be awful as you can have Nova/Serge in the ‘pen for long relief when/if (more like when, who am I kidding?) one of those two falter.

      • http://twitter.com/steveh_MandAura Steve H

        Or even have Colon in the bullpen, which I believe he said he was willing to do. You know you’re not getting full seasons out of both Colon and Garcia. I figure you might as well use their bullets while healthy (if they are at the end of March).

  • bp

    Is Mark Prior so out of it that he doesn’t even make the candidates list?

    • Rick in Boston

      Prior’s a reliever now, strictly a one-inning at a time guy.

  • http://ablogforarod.blogspot.com/ The Captain

    Util- Pena
    Backup C- Cervelli
    Last Bench- Nunez
    5th SP- Garcia
    Long Man- Mitre

    I agree that Nunez should be playing every day in Triple-A, but the Yanks seem to like him and want him around. To be honest, I’d rather see Nunez get the utility spot and have Belliard be the last man, but I don’t see them just kicking Pena to the curb.

  • Mister Delaware

    Weird, I expected the comments to be full of predictions …

    Utility IF: Pena (makes sense to give Nunez more PAs in SWB)

    Backup C: Cervelli (same logic as above w/ the two prospects)

    4th Bench: Chavez (Belliard is more likely but I love Chavez’s fit if he’s healthy … and its a fun thought to have Chavez and Andruw on the same bench)

    5th Starter: Garcia (I’d think he’s a lock for 4th, really. If Mitre or Colon were to have an insane camp, they’d likely bump Nova either to long man or SWB, atleast for now, rather than Garcia)

    Long Man: Mitre (Worth keeping around for an emergency)

    • Urban

      I think the Yankees have been keeping Mitre around for an emergency for several years.

      2011: Emergency.

  • Greg

    One name for the 5th Starter job no one is mentioning is Adam Warren, no inning limits. great succees at all levels power pitcher. In an interview with Cashman in Dec he pkoe glowingly about warren.

    One other comment: Does anyone feel that next year AROD and Jeter will Split DH/3B and they sign Jose Reyes to play short

    • Danimal

      Nah. The Yanks will trade for Michael Young so they can have another gritty, $16M SS who can’t play defense…

      That’s right… I said it.

      But seriously, I actually do think there’s a possibility that happens… you know with the whole position switch talk going around. It could actually fit if Jeet can play LF/RF. I like Reyes when he’s not hurt.

    • Ted Nelson

      Reyes is a lot of risk to take on at the kind of salary he’s probably looking at: his OPS+ has been above 103 one of the past four seasons. Definitely worth thinking about depending on how things go (for Reyes, Jeter, ARod, Nunez, Cito Culver…), but a lot of risk. In a perfect world Jeter bounces back and the Yankees wait at least a year to move him off SS, but maybe Reyes is worth the $ and risk to them since solid SS are so hard to come by…

  • camilo Gerardo

    re:nunez; better an empty avg than no avg, eh

    • pete

      I’ll take a .236 avg from Adam dunn over a .302 avg from Eduardo Nunez any day of the week

      • Urban

        Agreed. Let me know when Dunn can be used at SS; otherwise, poor comparison.

  • Andy

    Missed a bunch of reliever candidates, including Prior, Sisco, and Cotts.

    • Roland

      “veteran presents’? Dude…

  • tommy cassella

    the assman is still sitting on his brains,he says aceves will not be able to pitch because he has a bad back.yet,he passed the red sox physical with no problems. the man has to get the hell out of new york.what would please be very much is for somebody on the yanks send him to siberia. they have no baseball so he won’t be able to hurt the yanks anymore.plus,with any luck, he would freeze to death.