The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


The last man on the bench

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Feb 05, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

The bench is perhaps the easiest thing to upgrade at the trade deadline. Solid role players, who can fill a specific hole, are generally prevalent and inexpensive. The Yankees made deadline bench moves each of the past five years.

2006: Sal Fasano and Craig Wilson
2007: Jose Molina and Wilson Betemit
2008: Ivan Rodriguez and Xavier Nady
2009: Eric Hinske and Jerry Hairston Jr.
2010: Austin Kearns and Lance Berkman

With the exception of Nady — who was more of a regular than a reserve — none of the moves cost much in terms of prospects, and all were made because a need had presented itself in the course of the season.

That’s why, on February 5, it’s hard to sweat that last spot on the bench. It’s almost certainly going to change during the season. Actually, it’s probably going to change several times, and right now, no team is in a position to know what it will most need out of that final spot.

As it stands, the Yankees have three bench spots set (or at least, they know exactly what kind of players are going to fill those spot).

Backup catcher
Francisco Cervelli is probably the front-runner. Jesus Montero or Austin Romine might do enough to win the spot, if they prove productive enough to deserve regular at-bats.

Fourth outfielder
This spot belongs to Andruw Jones. There are other outfielders coming to camp looking for jobs, but Jones is the only one with a definite role.

Utility infielder
Specifically, someone who can play shortstop. That pretty much means either Eduardo Nunez or Ramiro Pena.

The fourth and final spot on the bench could go to any one of at least nine candidates: Nunez, Pena, Eric Chavez, Ron Belliard, Colin Curtis, Greg Golson, Justin Maxwell, Kevin Russo or Brandon Laird. That’s not accounting for the possibility of someone like Jorge Vazquez, Melky Mesa, Dan Brewer or David Adams making an unexpected impression in camp.

Chavez and Belliard are the new guys, the veterans signed to minor league deals and brought to camp to compete. Both have third base experience, and obviously the Yankees would like to have someone who could give Alex Rodriguez a DH day fairly regularly. But they’ll both have to prove they have something left.

If they don’t, no harm done. If they show something in spring training and fall apart during the season, they’ll be easily replaceable. If the Yankees decide they’d rather give that spot to a fifth outfielder, it’s no loss for the team.

This is the last spot on the bench, and the Yankees might as well give everyone a look and a chance. Right now there’s no way of knowing what kind of player they’ll need in that spot, and there’s certainly no way of knowing who will be filling it on August 1.

Associated Press photos of Hairston and Chavez

 
 

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48 Responses to “The last man on the bench”

  1. Ruby Tuesday February 5th, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Did you like the R*d S*x bench, Chad ?

  2. 108 stitches February 5th, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Chavez, Belliard, Maxwell, Vazquez, Mesa, Brewer, or Adams would have to play absolute flawless baseball for the limited oppotunities they’ll get during the month of March.
    Curtis, Golson, Russo, Laird, and Cervelli will get longer looks and more playing time and should be among the group for the final cuts.
    Nunez and Pena will have to play thelselves off the team and the $2M salary of Andruw Jones makes him a virtual lock.
    Hopefully there will be some good protection at AAA.

  3. Abe Peterham February 5th, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    108 u are right on. Most of those vet reserves make me nauseous .

  4. GMAN February 5th, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    Hey what if St. Louis can’t come to contract agrrement with Albert Pujols…

    How about Texeira, Brackman, Betances and a IF/OF type prospect for Sir Albert?

  5. sevrox February 5th, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Same topics – can’t wait until ST begins!

  6. mick February 5th, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    If Chavez wows em in ST he makes the team but since he cant play ss prob Pena makes it too. This would knock the 5th OF out but Pena could prob play there for an inning till Golson comes up.

    Would Chavez play enough to warrant carrying him?

  7. Jerkface February 5th, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    If Chavez wows em in ST he makes the team but since he cant play ss prob Pena makes it too. This would knock the 5th OF out but Pena could prob play there for an inning till Golson comes up.

    Nunez would make it over Pena.

  8. Jerkface February 5th, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    If Chavez hits a little like his former self I could see him making it over a purely defensive 5th OFer or Pena. Because then if A-rod sits or goes to DH for a day his replacement would not only be solid on defense but also better on offense.

  9. mick February 5th, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    No need for Nunez esp if Chavez makes it….let Nunez get AB’s in AAA. Same w/ Montero.

  10. Jerkface February 5th, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    But theres really no telling how Chavez is going to perform, his body is brittle.

  11. Jerkface February 5th, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    No need for Nunez esp if Chavez makes it….let Nunez get AB’s in AAA.

    Nunez isn’t as important going forward as Montero. I think its possible he goes to AAA for playing time but really he should be getting major league ABs.

  12. mick February 5th, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    It’ll prob be Pena and Nunez again unless Belliard can play SS and hits in ST.
    Unless Chavez hits then Nunez can go down and play until B and/or C breaks down.

  13. tyanksfan36 February 5th, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    According to Twitter, it seems Justin Christian is signing a minor league deal with the Giants.

  14. mick February 5th, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    There is no room for AB’s with a HOF IF.

  15. mick February 5th, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    tyfan

    how much time to get over the bridge into Tampa and into the stadium?

  16. mick February 5th, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Right now our biggest problem is the 4th starter.

  17. tyanksfan36 February 5th, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Mick

    depends on the time of day. why do you ask?

  18. mick February 5th, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    I would love to see Montero as the BUC but doubt it’s happening.

  19. mick February 5th, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    ty

    might go to a yanks game in May

  20. mick February 5th, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    i crossed that bridge with major traffic last feb/march for a ST game and it was pretty long and congested , took an hour.

  21. mick February 5th, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    how is finding the stadium and parking once you get there?

  22. Tar February 5th, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    Is it me, or is this an interesting group to choose from? Everyone of them has a story line attached. Not sure why, but I don’t have that same feeling of dread, like circa 2008. Betamit, Ransom, even Sexson, yuck-that was not good.

    I have high hopes for this current group.

    My dark horse candidate’s for the staff-Warren. For the bench-Vazquez.

  23. tyanksfan36 February 5th, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    mick

    you going to the Rays/Yankees game in Tampa in May? I am, but Im planning on going really early hopefully to see batting practice and stuff that way Ill miss the traffic. I went to a game verse the white sox and left about an hour and a half before it started. Traffic was awful, it was stopped for a while on the Tampa side of the bridge and when we got about a mile to the stadium it was backed up there too. We made it right at first pitch. Besides that, the other games we stayed in St. Pete and went to two in a row so we wouldnt have to deal with traffic. If you get into St. Pete early and go to the beach or to eat first then youll miss a lot of traffic, ive learned that.

  24. 108 stitches February 5th, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Eduardo Nunez has been working out with Cano. It was posted here recently that he’s fully prepared to adjust to a part time role to stay in the big leagues and will work hard daily to keep sharp.
    Girardi will do what he can to give him enough work in backing up A-Rod, Jeter, and Cano in games with a safe lead or when A-Rod or Cano get occasional time as a DH depending on who the opposing pitcher is or Posada gets a day off.
    This is a flexible team.

  25. mick February 5th, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Tar , who is this Vazquez?

  26. mick February 5th, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    Ty

    if i hit tha bridge at 3-4pm for a 7pm game will i make it over and in the parking lot in less tthan an hour? i go for BP.

  27. tyanksfan36 February 5th, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    mick

    I park in a small lot on central or 1st ave whichever road the stadium is on going east/west. Its 10 dollars and a 5 or so minute walk from the stadium. There are a lot of small lots and theyre generally 10 dollars. They have general parking but I would assume that would be a nightmare to get out so I go to the shady lots and havent had any problems there. Its really not as bad a stadium as people make it out except for the cowbells so bring tylenol cause youll probably get a headache. Food and drinks are expensive but thats expected but tickets are pretty cheap.

  28. Tar February 5th, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    mick

    1b-Dh and some 3b. Signed from Mexico.

    http://www.baseball-reference......zque002jor

  29. BoJo February 5th, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    I agree that Nunez goes to SWB if Chavez makes the team. Letting him get playing time there increases his trade value. And I also don’t think his defense is as good as Pena’s defense.

  30. mick February 5th, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    looks like vazquez plays 1b-3b, they need a ss

  31. BoJo February 5th, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    Having said that, I suspect Nunez has better than 50% chance to beat out Chavez for spot.

  32. mick February 5th, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    our worst problem every year seems to be the utility IF spot. this year it’s our 4th starter.

  33. tyanksfan36 February 5th, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    mick

    I would say if you left at 3 you would definitely get there in less than an hour. I would not park in general parking unless you want to sit in that mess forever. Driving back to Tampa and over the bridge after a game will definitely take some time. I actually missed the bottom half of the inning where Golson threw out Crawford because I wanted to beat traffic.. It only took 30 minutes from the time I got to my car to get to the exit leading to my house, I would still have left early though knowing what I would have missed just to beat the traffic.

  34. mick February 5th, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    other teams, except the great rs wish they had our problems, altho some think we should have a superstar at every position inc. utility IF and OF and that we are entitled to win a WS every year. if money was all it took we would win every year.
    not that easy.

  35. mick February 5th, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    that water looks like it could overflow on the highway over that bridge.

  36. mick February 5th, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    amazing how no one ever says they park on the street for a game.
    i do at the Stadium and get in and out no problem.
    You would think thats impossible in NY but not elsewhere.

  37. mick February 5th, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    I always stay till the last out so I guess I sit in traffic going home.
    Coming from Orlando it might not be worth it.

  38. tyanksfan36 February 5th, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    mick

    they have “no parking” signs about a mile radius around the stadium. Id rather not deal with that when I can park in a legit shady lot for an extra 10.

    My favorite thing to do when going over the Howard Franklin bridge is put the windows down and crank up the music. Only time they had to worry about water on the bridge is during hurricanes.

  39. tyanksfan36 February 5th, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    if you stay in St. Pete then theres really no problem with traffic getting back. Thing is most people come from the Tampa side of the bridge so its always backed up going that way. We stayed for a weekend in St. Pete for two games July 31/August 1st and didnt have any problem getting there or back and we showed up about 30 minutes to first pitch.

  40. Jerkface February 5th, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    Nunez pena and russo combined for near 300 pa’s last year. I would rather nunez get 300 major league pa’s than 400 minor league pa’s and 100 major league ab’s. He’ll have better instructors and mentors and facilities at the majors.

  41. Betsy February 5th, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    I saw this on another board and I think I have to agree. Does Cashman need to refer to players as “inventory”? I mean, these players are human beings and not robots………….he’s incredibly corporate and I can see how he comes off as a cold fish.

  42. Patrick February 5th, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    I would prefer Nunez as our backup infielder but it all comes down to how the Yankees value him. If they think he’s a legit prospect, let him get more play time in AAA and spin him off in a trade. If they don’t think he’s a legit prospect and will be a career bench player keep him with the major league team.

  43. Jerkface February 5th, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Does Cashman need to refer to players as “inventory”?
    he’s incredibly corporate and I can see how he comes off as a cold fish.

    And yet during his actual negotiations it seems everyone has nice things to say and he appears to genuinely understand what interests players. Recall he flew personally to discuss the yankees and living in new york with CC and his family, he brought Tex to Yankee Stadium and showed him a video of Tex coming out of the dugout to bat set to Tex’s favorite song.

  44. Jerkface February 5th, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    If they think he’s a legit prospect, let him get more play time in AAA and spin him off in a trade.

    At the same time, success in the majors > success in the minors. If Nunez hits .280+ in the majors it does more for his stock than hitting .280 in the AAA

  45. Jerkface February 5th, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    If they don’t think he is a major league SS, but still a legit prospect, then have him play SS in the minors where he won’t be exposed. If they think he is a legit SS and a legit prospect, have him play in the majors where he gains value. If they don’t think he is a prospect play him in the majors and deal him if he brings his value up or just keep him if he is useful enough.

  46. Nick in SF February 5th, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    Cashman was reportedly very personable during Swisher’s welcome conference call.

  47. rb from LI February 5th, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    I have heard other baseball people refer to players as assets, etc. It’s just the current lingo being used. It’s not surprising when you consider the business aspect of the sport is talked about more now than it ever has been.

  48. onehundredareneuf February 7th, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    to be


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