Consider this a kind of follow-up or addition to yesterday’s post about the Yankees in transition…
Successfully making that transition — both on the roster and within the budget — might require that the Yankees fill their in-season holes with young, in-house options. Going after experienced players this winter makes sense. The organization’s upper-level prospects aren’t proven enough to trust they can handle a big league job right away, but if the Yankees are going to find cheap, cost-controlled players for the future, they’re going to have to let a few prospects sink or swim at some point.
Guys like David Adams, Austin Romine and Melky Mesa have yet to experience a full year at Triple-A and could legitimately grow with a few more months of consistent minor league at-bats, but if the Yankees have to find depth during the season, they might have to move away from the Jayson Nix, Dewayne Wise, Casey McGehee stopgaps. It’s time to take some chances on the kids, and the projected Triple-A roster should be full of options.
Need an extra infielder? Adams and Corban Joseph are waiting. Need an outfielder? Mesa and Zoilo Almonte are already on the 40-man. Chris Stewart or Francisco Cervelli struggling under the weight of regular at-bats? What better time to find out what you’ve got in Romine? Adam Warren, Brett Marshall, Chase Whitley and Mark Montgomery should be in the pitching staff conversation by the All-Star break.
Despite a myth to the contrary, the Yankees have not totally shied away from young players in recent years. Cervelli, Brett Gardner, Eduardo Nunez, Dave Robertson, Ivan Nova and even Phil Hughes broke into the big leagues because doors opened and the Yankees looked for internal solutions. In the past three years we’ve also see guys like Colin Curtis, Kevin Russo and Lance Pendleton get mid-season call-ups to help fill a position of need. Some guys have proven themselves and stuck around, some have exceed expectation and move into bigger roles, and some have faded away.
Considering their future financial plans, the Yankees have to figure out what they’ve got. And the only way to do that is to put some of these young guys to the test. That might not require a big league job out of camp, but it’s going to require a big league job at some point.
Associated Press photo of Adams