Last time we had a TYA Roundtable, it was about the fifth starter and happened immediately after the trade that brought Michael Pineda to the Yankees. This one takes place after another trade, one that sends A.J. Burnett to the Pirates for some money and prospects. This roundtable discussion, though, doesn’t have to do with the present, but the (semi-near) future. Herein, we discuss possible roster changes over the course of the season. Click through for the talking.
Eric Schultz: Honestly, I don’t see many major changes for the September roster compared to the roster at the start of the season. I see Austin Romine replacing Francisco Cervelli as the backup catcher, as he will have spent enough time in AAA to be big league ready. I also see the Yankees acquiring a salary-dump DH at the trade deadline assuming they go cheap at the position no (I will go with Travis Hafner, though several others could fit the bill). I also see them adding Joba Chamberlain to the bullpen, assuming his recovery from Tommy John Surgery continues to go well. I don’t really see any other areas where major upgrades will be needed, though I suppose there could be interest in finding something better than Eduardo Nunez/Eric Chavez for the utility/bench positions.
Brad Vietrogoski: Barring major injuries, I don’t see there being a big difference between the 25-man roster the Yankees will open the season with and the 25-man roster they head into the postseason with, assuming, of course, that they make it to the postseason. The starting lineup is pretty well locked down except for the DH platoon, there are four solid starters in the rotation, and the core of the bullpen is set already. This team is built for the postseason as it is; they might be one or two pieces away, but not big pieces. As the season progresses and the Yankees see what kind of production they get from the DH spot and their bench, they could be in the market for a salary dump-type bat at the trade deadline to add some depth. But they’ve taken a more cautious approach to the deadline over the past couple seasons, and I don’t see them wanting to give up the prospects it would take to make a major improvement over what they already have. If everybody stays healthy, or at least healthy enough, I would be shocked to see any major differences between the roster in early April and the roster in early October.
Matt Imbrogno: We always say that the team you enter with is never the team you leave with. That wasn’t necessarily the case in 2011, as the Yankees didn’t make any deadline deals and no major pieces, Jesus Montero not withstanding, were brought in as the year wore on. It’s likely that the same scenario repeats itself in 2012, barring an injury, of course. The only spots that could possibly be in need of upgrades would be the DH spot and the bench if guys like Eduardo Nunez and Chris Dickerson just absolutely cannot hack it. Going into Spring Training, and eventually the beginning of the season, the Yankees look to be a rather complete team. The rotation is (too) full and the lineup is as strong as ever. Things can most definitely change, but I can’t see this team needing much in the way of additions as 2012 advances.
Domenic Lanza: It seems almost naive to assume that the team that takes the field on Opening Day will be the team that will (hopefully) be suiting up for the Yankees well into October. While that does not necessary imply that big changes are on the horizon, I sincerely believe that there are several players that are (at best) fifty-fifty to make it through the entire season donning pinstripes. Francisco Cervelli, Eduardo Nunez, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes, and Cory Wade may all be poor stretch away from finding themselves in Scranton Scranton/Wilkes-Barre or on waivers. Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Russell Martin, and Hiroki Kuroda have dealt with nagging injuries over the past few years and, with the exception of Martin (who may well be 35 in catcher years), are all in their mid-30s. For this, we may see extended appearances from Austin Romine, Ramiro Pena, Corban Joseph, Brandon Laird, David Phelps, Adam Warren, Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, and a bevy of other minor league arms. And, lest we forget the black hole at designated hitter at this juncture, I wouldn’t be shocked to see a borderline-blockbuster move for a DH and/or future replacement for Nick Swisher.
Gun to my head … I truly believe that the Yankees will look drastically different after the trade deadline, be it due to injury, ineffectiveness, or a deal that’s just too damn good to pass up.
Mike Jaggers-Radolf: The position players and marquee pitchers will remain largely unchanged. However backup catchers, back end starters and relievers have a habit of changing by season’s end. I’d say there a decent odds that Austin Romine and one of the Killer B’s have cracked the 25 man come September.
Michael Eder: While the current roster has very few questionable starters, age will remain a huge issue. We could see, and should expect one of Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Andruw Jones, or Mariano Rivera go down at any point. If there is a serious concern about one of the position players making it back in time by the playoffs, I fully expect the team to go all in for a replacement. Marco Scutaro or Stephen Drew‘s name could show up in shortstop rumors, and I expect to hear David Wright‘s name mentioned for third base, but would realistically love to see Chase Headley‘s name out there. Designated hitter could also be a spot of interest if they’re unhappy with Jones, but I instead expect them to target an outfielder in order to have some versatility with Swisher. As for pitching, this will be the first year in a long time that I don’t expect the Yankees to be in the market for pitching. Though six starters will rarely make it through the full season, the team has five options in Scranton that could step in and make huge impacts. The bullpen is a similar situation, where quality backups are already lined up on the AAA squad. Austin Romine, David Phelps, Adam Warren, D.J. Mitchell, Dellin Betances, Brandon Laird, and Jorge Vazquez are the most likely players to earn a 25 man spot by October. Some outside shots would be Zoilo Almonte, Corban Joseph, or Manny Banuelos.
Steve Sciacco: If there’s one area that I could envision the Yanks would need to patch up midseason, it would be the 5th starter. I’m very down on Hughes, whether he’s in great shape or not he needs to reinvent his batted ball profile to succeed in YS3 and I have doubts he will be able to do so. I think we were all surprised at what Freddy Garcia did last year, and with the way he pitches to contact a little bad luck could make his numbers turn ugly. The 5th starter’s role is the kind of spot you look to fill internally, so we may get a look at guys like Phelps, Warren, or maybe even Banuelos or Betances if their innings are manageable.
Alex Geshwind: The easy, obvious, not so interesting answer is that if someone does go down mid-season the Yankees now have the payroll flexibility to make a move. If ARod suffers another setback, I could see David Wright’s name floated around. As I’ve written in the past, my biggest concern for major injury is with Russel Martin. He’s been beat up and overworked and I don’t see anyone waiting in the wings (no, not Austin Romine) to take over in the short term should he go down. Ultimately, though, this is just speculation. Realistically, like in years past, I expect the Yankees to make a couple of minor moves around the deadline. I expect they’ll bring in a bench player, maybe a platoon option at third or DH if needed. With AJ now in Pittsburgh and $13 million off the books, some of that money could be used to pay the salary of a soon-to-be free agent. Think Lance Berkman two years back. Given our vast organizational depth on the mound I doubt we’ll be forced into making a move. But depth is never as deep as it seems. I think we’ll hear rumors about a few big name pitchers heading to New York. If CC Sabathia or Michael Pineda go down mid-season, these rumors could come to fruition.
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