We now have actual baseball games to follow and box scores to pursue, so what are the questions the Yankees are trying to answer this spring? To me the following five are the obvious ones.
1- Who is the 5th starter or are there 6? The Yankees could do a couple of different things here. Assuming that the quartet of Tanaka, Pineda, Eovaldi, and Severino, emerge healthy from spring, the 5th starter spot would seem to come down to Sabathia vs. Nova. But, with all the injury concerns in the rotation would the Yankees consider going with all of them in the rotation? I think they absolutely would, so I think this is the biggest question.
2- Who is the backup catcher? Gary Sanchez is an intriguing prospect and his bat can probably help right now. But making him the backup catcher comes with two drawbacks. First, he won’t have regular playing time. Second, the Yankees will lose Austin Romine, hurting their organizational depth.
3- What does the bullpen look like after the Big 3? We know how the back end of the bullpen will play out, but what about the front? There are plenty of names in the mix- Shreve, Mitchell, Pazos, Pinder, Rumblelow, Lindgren, to name a few, but who fits where? With Miller and eventually Chapman on the roster, how many additional lefties will the Yankees take north?
4- Who gets the last spot on the bench? We know the bench is going to include Hicks, Ackley, and a backup catcher, but what do the Yankees do with the last spot? If Refsnyder can cover third, does he make it? Maybe a super-utility type instead or would the Yankees put such a value on Sanchez’s bat that they carry a third catcher?
5- What’s the lineup? I would guess something along these lines-
That keeps you from stacking too many lefties in a row and balances things, but Girardi may not want to put Castro below Didi and that could create the same lefty-overload problem we saw last year.
And we only have one month to find out all of these answers because the Yankees open the 2016 on April 4th. Can you believe it?