SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Joe Girardi meets with reporters: Thursday.
Pitchers and catchers report: Friday
First workout: Feb. 14
First full-squad workout: Feb. 18
First exhibition game: Feb. 25 vs. Toronto at Dunedin
Last exhibition game: April 4 vs. Cubs at Yankee Stadium
Opening Day: April 6 at Baltimore
THE 40-MAN ROSTER
Pitchers: Alfredo Aceves, Jonathan Albaladejo, Andrew Brackman, Brian Bruney, A.J. Burnett, Joba Chamberlain, Anthony Claggett, Phil Coke, Wilkin De La Rosa, Michael Dunn, Christian Garcia, Dan Giese, Eric Hacker, Phil Hughes, Steven Jackson, Ian Kennedy, Damaso Marte, Andy Pettitte, Edwar Ramirez, Mariano Rivera, David Robertson, CC Sabathia, Humberto Sanchez, Jose Veras, Chien-Ming Wang.
Catchers: Francisco Cervelli, Jose Molina, Jorge Posada.
Infielders: Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Juan Miranda, Cody Ransom, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira.
Outfielders: Melky Cabrera, Johnny Damon, Brett Gardner, Xavier Nady, Nick Swisher, Hideki Matsui.
Pitchers: Kei Igawa, Jason Johnson, Mark Melancon, Sergio Mitre.
Catchers: Kyle Anson, Kevin Cash, Jesus Montero, P.J. Pilittere, Austin Romine.
Infielders: Doug Bernier, Angel Berroa, Shelley Duncan, Justin Leone, Eduardo Nunez, Ramiro Pen, Kevin Russo.
Outfielders: Colin Curtis, Austin Jackson, Todd Linden, John Rodriguez.
More additions: The Yankees offered Andruw Jones a non-roster invite that he declined. Might that change as the season approaches? There are some potentially helpful players out there including Mark Grudzielanek, Orlando Hudson, Nomar Garciaparra, Juan Cruz and Rich Aurilia.
Changes: Tony Pena is the new bench coach, Rob Thomson went to third base and Mick Kelleher is the new first base coach. The organization also made a number of changes to the support staff.
So long from 2008: Mike Mussina, Bobby Abreu, Jason Giambi, Pudge Rodrigez, Bobby Meacham, Chad Moeller, Darrell Rasner, Sidney Ponson, Wilson Betemit, Justin Christian, Chris Britton and, finally, Carl Pavano.
Position battles: Cabrera and Gardner will duel for center field. The Yankees do not want to use Damon or Swisher there and prefer to have Jackson stay in the minors for another season. Either Nady or Swisher will play right field. It’s quite possible of them gets traded.
Rivera, Marte and Bruney have three of the six (or seven) jobs in the bullpen. The other spots will be competed for. Veras, Ramirez, Giese, Albaladejo, Melancon, Robertson and Sanchez are among the contenders. Maybe Coke, too, unless he’s developed as a starter. Either Ransom or Berroa projects as the utility infielder.
Concerns: The bench is weak. One solution would be not trading Nady or Swisher and using them as part of a rotation with Damon and Matsui. Another solution would be signing a veteran free agent.
Breakout Prospects: Now that he has recovered from elbow surgery, it will be interesting to watch Brackman pitch. Look for him to start with Class A Tampa. The organization has a lot of faith in Melancon. Young pitchers Dunn and De La Rosa, two converted outfielders, are intriguing prospects. Austin Jackson could draw some raves.
Generation Never? With five starters established, how Hughes and Kennedy react will be story worth following. Will they come to camp ready to impress or sore that they don’t really have a chance to make the team?
The Rehab Boys: Wang, Rivera, Matsui and Posada are all coming off surgery or serious injuries. All four are expected to be ready for Opening Day but will be used cautiously. Posada’s shoulder will be a big story in camp.
The Annual A-Rod Controversy: One year he announced he wasn’t friends with Jeter. The next was all about his contract and a made-up number of drug tests he took. Now the silly story of the spring will be whether his teammates consider him a fraud, as Joe Torre suggests. Or will it be his publicity-seeking dalliances with celebrities? At this point, it’s all quite tedious. The good news is he’s due for an MVP season.
Captain Crewcut: Joe Girardi didn’t make a lot of friends in his first year as manager. Silly rules for the players, poor communication with his coaching staff and an unwillingness to demand accountability with young players like Cano resulted in some rocky times. How he adjusts in his second year will determine whether he remains as manager. A slow start could lead to a change.
The Terrific Trio: Burnett, Sabathia and Teixeira have easy jobs. They merely need to justify their huge salaries by leading the Yankees back to the World Series for the first time since 2003. The first season in New York is always an interesting one for a star player. Sabathia could quickly emerge as a team leader.
WBC Absentees: Jeter, A-Rod, Cano, Cabrera, Marte and a few others are on WBC provisional rosters. So get ready to see a lot of scrubs in the infield until the big boys get back. Cabrera might be wise to stay in Tampa and try and win a job.
Trade Time: Spring training trades are fairly rare. Most teams would rather take stock of what they have at this point. But the Yankees have pieces to make a significant move. Take Nady or Swisher, Kennedy and one of the bullpen arms and that could bring back a significant return.
Starter depth: The AAA rotation could be Hughes, Kennedy, Aceves, Coke and Igawa. That’s not too bad.
I leave for Tampa on Monday morning and will be blogging often from that point on. Enjoy the weekend.