With Pitchers & Catchers less than a month away and the Hot Stove starting to cool down, let’s prognosticate and see whom we think will make the final 25-man roster for the Yankees.
Which leaves us with 19. The last 6 are a dice roll. Sergio Mitre will probably see the majors in 2010, but the Yankees might want to get some regular starts at the beginning of the season at AAA and then call him up after he gets his feet wet.
The back-up infielder spot is an interesting one. Ramiro Pena has experience in the bigs, and didn’t play poorly, but laid an egg last year at AAA and in winter ball. Chris Russo on the other hand, had a fantastic year at Scranton batting .326. Eduardo Nunez also had a great year at Trenton, but is probably a year or so away from contributing at the major league level.
Some more longshots are Juan Miranda and Jorge Vasquez. Miranda, a big 1st baseman has done fairly well at AAA the last two years, batting last year at .290 and about a .500 slugging percentage. He also made the best of his cups of coffee at the big league level, getting 7 hits and 2 walks in 23 PA—including a HR and a 2B. Jorge Vasquez, according to the LOHUD blog, says in the Mexican league, that Vasquez was a power-hitting prospect with slugging percentages above .730 at times, and surmises that he could be an Edwar Ramirez-type of surprise. Unfortunately for both these guys, Nick Johnson is manning the DH/backup 1st baseman spot. Good news is he’s brittle.
Girardi likes two lefties in his pen which means Boone Logan could have a spot, though unless he impresses in Spring Training, imagine safely that Cashman will be looking to upgrade. But for now Logan is the best of a thin lefty list in the Yankee organization. (I mean….Kei Igawa?)
And then there’s Jamie Hoffman, who for some reason, certain people have treated as if a roster spot, not the mention a starting spot, has been assured. Last I checked Hoffman batted .283 in the minors with not much power to brag about. Sure, he may be a fine number 9 hitter, but he’ll have to impress in camp to make it. Lucky for Hoffman, as with the lefty bullpen situation, the list of alternatives is short. Xavier Nady, Johnny Damon? Sure, but will they accept a below-market contract? Can Kevin Russo play the outfield? Maybe. Will have to see in camp.
So let’s do the Opening Day Roster.
Other options could include Mark Melancon, Josh Towers and Edwar Ramirez. If any of these guys light up spring training, they could replace Aceves, Albaladejo, Gaudin or Logan. Going with 8 in the bullpen to start the season playing in the cold weather. Will drop down to 7 when it starts to warm up a little.
Cashman has already say Cervelli has the back-up catcher position, so as long as he doesn’t go 0 for spring, the position is his.
If Russo can show enough with the stick and prove he wouldn’t be a liability in the outfield, he gets the Jerry Hairston-everyspot utility role. Johnson backs up Teixeira.
Should Nady or Damon sign, that would push Hoffman or Russo back to the minors. But barring any free agent signings or trades—which of course is not only possible, but likely—this is the best guess I have for the Yankees Opening Day roster. Write back with your guesses/revisions.