A little more than halfway through spring training, I am happy with the pitching so far, the defense needs to pick up, worried about the hitting, happy with Castro…. here are some thoughts and reflections, with many coming from the NY Post today.
First, the defense. Here is Joel Sherman of the NY Post.
If A-Rod were able to play even 15-20 games at third and at first, the Yankees’ roster situation would be so much better. But age and multiple hip surgeries has left Rodriguez so defensively limited that the Yankees have said he will not play the field.
So the Yankees’ current back-up infield set up is Dustin Ackley at first, where he is below average defensively; Ackley and Rob Refsnyder at second, where both are viewed as sub-par defensively; Starlin Castro at short, a position he played himself out of in Chicago; and Refsnyder at third, a position he just began learning.
A-Rod’s DH-only status means Carlos Beltran — really a DH at this point — will have to play below-average right field on ravaged knees to keep his bat in the order. Older players whose bodies the Yankees would like to rest but whose bats they would like to use (think Brian McCann and Mark Teixeira) cannot get regular DH at-bats. The Yanks cannot comfortably go to a 13th pitcher.
The Yanks this week offered a minor league deal to Ruben Tejada, who was released by the Mets. Tejada rejected it and signed with the Cardinals, who will be without Jhonny Peralta for a while. Tejeda is best known for having his leg broken by Chase Utley in a playoff game last year when Utley went in hard in trying to break up a DP.
Gary Sanchez may not make the Yanks as the backup catcher after all. he is 1 for 16 this spring and Joe Girardi states that the youngster may be pressing a bit. Austin Romine, who is out of options, is having a good spring. It may be no surprise then, to see Romine kept (since he is out of options), and Sanchez sent to AAA to start the season to play every day and get more seasoning.
Lastly, manager Joe Girardi states that Bryan Mitchell is still in the hunt for a rotation spot. That would be shocking. If you go by the assumption that four spots are locked in by Tanaka, Pineda, Severino, aand Eovaldi, that leaves just one spot. If Mitchell gains that last ROTATION spot, it means BOTH Nova and CC are headed to the bullpen. It’s safe that say that three bullpen spots are locked up—Miller, Betances and Shreve. Chapman’s spot, of course, is locked up on May 9th when he is eligible to come off of his suspension.
It is going to be VERY INTERESTING who the long men/spot-emergency starters will be out of the Yankees bullpen come opening day. I think Mitchell will be in that role, personally. Who joins him, Nova or CC is up for debate.
Nova starts today. Mitchell may follow. Let’s see how they do.