With Opening Day just two weeks away and players being cut on a daily basis, the makeup of the Opening Day roster is becoming exceedingly clearer. Let’s take our first stab at predicting the final 25 that the Yankees will take north with them:
There are no surprises here, as all of these players were handed jobs before camp started and did nothing to lose them. I have not noticed Martin behind the plate at all, which is a very good sign when discussing catcher defense. He should be able to ward off Jesus Montero for the time being.
As Larry noted yesterday, this is one of the strongest benches that the Yankees have fielded in a long time, assuming that Chavez remains healthy. Candidates like Ronnie Belliard, Ramiro Pena, and Brandon Laird never really got any traction in camp, which makes Nunez and Chavez near locks to come north, and the injury to Francisco Cervelli does the same for Montero. That said, unless Montero is killing the ball early in the year, I think he is slated to return to Scranton once Frankie returns.
The first three are obvious, but after that there are 3 guys (Nova, Garcia, and Bartolo Colon) for 2 spots. Nova has been very impressive in camp, and the sense I get from the beat writers is that the club wants him to make the rotation. Between the other two, I would put Garcia in the rotation due to his adequate 2010 and better likelihood than Colon of staying healthy, and I expect the Yankees to reach a similar conclusion.
Colon, Sergio Mitre, and Romulo Sanchez are all in the mix for that final bullpen spot, and the Yankees will likely lose the two players who do not make the initial team. I would prefer to keep Mitre, who is a pretty good bet to give you slightly above replacement level performance out of the long man spot, but I expect (as does Joel Sherman) the Yankees to look at the great pitching depth they have at AAA and decide that Mitre is expendable and that Colon is the better upside play. The way to keep all of their options open is to send Ivan Nova down, put Colon in the rotation, and keep Mitre in the bullpen, but that was made incredibly unlikely by Nova’s spectacular performance last night. Another option would be to send Boone Logan down for April and use his spot to audition either Colon or Sanchez, but I have not heard anything to suggest that Logan will not make the team. (Edit: I was under the impression that Logan had an option left, but as commenter bg90027 notes, that is not the case).
Do you see the Yankees doing anything differently? What would your 25 man roster look like?
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