Monday, February 25, 2013

Stay Healthy

That is the number one goal for every manager when they head into spring training. Yes it's about getting the players ready for the grind of the 162 game schedule coming up, but every manager wants to make it through without significant injuries...

Well throw that one out the window...Yankees are already nursing Mo, Jeter, and CC. Then Hughes aggrevates a bulging disc in his back, and now with his first AB of the spring Granderson gets plunked on the forearm is out 10 weeks with a fracture.

Yankees were already down 100 HRs from last year given the departures of Swisher, Ibanez, Martine, Chavez and Jones. You can throw in A-Rod if you want who in a part time role had 18, but now Granderson will miss all of spring and probably the first month if not more of the regular season. I don't think there is need to run out and make a huge trade for an outfielder. Granderson will still see most of the season. But the loss early can't be overlooked. Granderson had 16 HR early last year (8 HR in each of April and May). Plus Granderson is an everyday player, playing in 160 games. Yankees will miss that a little early on.

What this does do is make it clear sailing for the move of Gardner to CF. It eliminates any controversy surrounding the move. Gardner will get all the playing time in CF now in spring and he'll start the season in CF. By the time Granderson comes back it won't make sense for Gardner to move back to LF.

This injury also opens the door a little maybe for some of the prospects to get a little more playing time. I imagine the Yankees won't be looking to Mason Williams (not in big camp anyways) or Tyler Austin just yet, but guys like Melky Messa, Ramon Flores, and Zoilo Almonte (it was Abraham Almonte that was traded to Seattle) along with Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera are now battling not just for the #4 spot in the OF but a starting spot until Granderson gets back.

Lastly, Mid made a comment about not seeing a lot of runs in the lineup. I completely disagree. While I will agree the overall power will be way down, the team will still score runs...lots of them. All you need to do is look at the greatest team of our generation, and perhaps all time, 1998 Yankees. They did not have a single player with more than 28 HRs (Tino led the team with 28) but everyone was in double digits. And I can see that happening with this lineup, with the exception of Gardner who may hit 5. Everyone else will get to double digits (combining Cervelli and Stewart should get you that from the catching position). Jeter, Ichiro and Youkilis will each hit 15, Cano & Teixeira will be 30, C will produce 10, and LF will be over 20 when Granderson gets back. The team will need to develop the mindset of situational hitting, and getting the key hit, not the HR, in a big situation.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pitchers and Catchers

Pitchers and Catchers officially report tomorrow, but the Yankees Spring Training facility in Tampa has already been bustling with activity for a while now.

There shouldn't be any surprises here. The Yankee roster is all but set. This is more about some the veterans getting healthy for the season. CC, Jeter, Rivera all coming off of surgeries, all should have slow spring trainings, but be ready for opening day.

I'm more interested in seeing the Yankee top prospects. Mason Williams is not in Major League camp because he's coming off of shoulder surgery (non-throwing shoulder) and will most likely be starting the season in Tampa. But guys like Tyler Austin, Gary Sanchez and Slade Heathcott need to impress now, if they want a shot at making the big club later in the season. None of these guys have legitimate shot at breaking camp in the Bronx but make the good impression now and it will pay off later. I also want to see David Adams. If this guy has an impressive spring training, it may lead to Nunez being traded.

Other Spring Training interests:

Starting Catcher: Girardi and Cashman have all but said the starting job is Cervelli's to lose. If Romine has a real good spring can he make the club? Does Cervelli's PED connection play a part in this, if he gets suspended for 50 it sure does...we may not see Cervelli ever again in pinstripes.

Starting OF: A lot of talk has been going on about Gardner moving full time to CF. This was the hot topic 3 years ago when the Yankees made the trade for Granderson, but with the injury to Gardner last year we didn't hear it. Now Cashman and Girardi are seriously considering switching Gardner to CF and Granderson to LF. This is the best move defensively for the team and should have been that way from day 1.

Bullpen: I have no doubt Rivera will be back to the normal Rivera. He will be one of the elite closers this year. The Yankees did lose Soriano, and while I think that is a good thing, you can't argue it was a big time arm in the pen. Can Aardsma bounce back and have a big impact on the bullpen? He was once a big time closer, if he can fill the 7th or 8th inning the Yankees can have the best bullpen in the AL when you have Logan, Joba, Robertson, Aardsma, and Rivera.

Rotation: There isn't a real question here. I would be shocked if it isn't CC, Kuroda, Pettitte, Hughes, and Nova. The only question is can Phelps challenge Nova for the #5 spot. I'm guessing no. Phelps would have to be unbelievable...which could happen...and Nova would have to be terrible...which I guess could happen. But short of injury, I think Girardi will put Nova in the #5 spot to start the season. If Nova struggles in April then Phelps gets the call.

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