It’s All About The Bench Now

The Yankees have completed the "heavy lifting" portion of their offseason and now have the final pieces of their roster to construct.  We know 10 pitchers who will be on the team next year (CC, AJ, Andy, Javier, Mo, Joba, Hughes, Aceves, Marte, Robertson)  We know the two catchers (Posada+Cervelli) and five infielders (Teixeira, Johnson, Cano, Jeter and A-Rod) What we don’t know is the outfield beyond the trio of Gardner, Granderson and Swisher.

Assume the Yankees go with 12 pitchers, I wish they wouldn’t, but it is a safe assumption.  That leaves you with three more spots to fill and if Brian Cashman is to be believed, very little money to do so. (For the record, I believe him and would bet against any big player coming through the door at this point)

Figure that one of the spots goes to one of the utility guys on the 40-man.  Ramiro Pena is probably the favorite, but Kevin Russo could certainly take it.  Corona and Nunez will probably start out the year in Scranton. 

That leaves two more spots and they both will almost certainly go to outfielders.  The Yankees have only four outfielders on the roster and while I think they will give Jamie Hoffmann a chance to win a job out of camp, they need someone else who can play the outfield on the roster and that person will almost definitely come from outside the organization.  

You hear names like Xavier Nady and Reed Johnson.  Both players would make a lot of sense, but I don’t think the Yankees are going to act quickly.  Brian Cashman has shown that once he sets a price in his mind, he isn’t going to budge.  I think that means Nady and Johnson come on board if they meet whatever the price the Yankees have in mind is, but chances are they don’t.  It really wouldn’t shock me to see Eric Hinske or Jerry Hairston back in pinstripes either.  Whatever the answer, I wouldn’t expect this situation to be resolved anytime soon.

One last note, with the addition of Nick Johnson, the Yankees have effectively ended any hope for Juan Miranda to crack the roster.  While Miranda’s age is in question, his bat is not- the guy can hit.  Stashing him in AAA for another year seems like a foolish waste of a resource and the Yankees would be smart to shop him around, perhaps he can bring a more useful piece back, like an outfielder.