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Work to be done

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[2]The Yankees are said to be moving closer to a deal with Ichiro Suzuki, and we know they’re waiting to hear from Kevin Youkilis. But even if those two were signed, the Yankees would still have work to do.

The Yankees don’t have to sign another pitcher. They might grab some fifth-starter competition out of the late-January bargain bin, but it’s not a given that they’ll add another arm. It’s also not a given that they’ll sign another catcher. Brian Cashman keeps saying he’s expecting to stick with in-house options, which might be hard to believe, but the Yankees are certainly approaching this winter in a way that suggests Cashman’s serious.

Even so, the Yankees have at least four big league roster spots to fill, and that’s only if you fill two bench spots with Chris Dickerson and Eduardo Nunez (without full seasons of Triple-A experience, it’s hard to consider Corban Joseph, David Adams, Melky Mesa, Zoilo Almonte and Ramon Flores legitimate big league options out of camp, at least not options that the Yankees would count on heading into spring training).

Here’s a rough look at the big league position player roster as it is today.

C: Chris Stewart
1B: Mark Teixeira
2B: Robinson Cano
SS: Derek Jeter
LF: Curtis Granderson
CF: Brett Gardner

C: Francisco Cervelli
IF: Eduardo Nunez
OF: Chris Dickerson

Depending on what the Yankees do about that right field opening, Dickerson could become overly redundant. If the Yankees re-sign Ichiro , are they really going to carry a fourth/fifth outfielder who’s also left-handed? What if they also re-sign Raul Ibanez? If both the DH spot and the final bench spot are filled by right-handers, maybe Dickerson could stick around, but even then, Dickerson might have to be sacrificed just to open a 40-man spot.

Point is, there’s a lot of work still to be done, and we’re going to see a lot of player movement in the next couple of months. The 40-man roster is full and there aren’t a lot of easy-to-DFA players on the roster. Ichiro and Youkilis are getting the bulk of the attention right now, but even if the Yankees get those done, their offseason will be a long way from finished.

Associated Press photo