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The second string: Looking for backup options

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jan 05, 2013 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

The Yankees still have to find a regular designated hitter, and they’ll use spring training to choose a regular catcher, but for the most part, the starting lineup is in place. At the very least, we know their plans at every defensive position. But what’s the backup plan? What happens if Kevin Youkilis or Curtis Granderson goes down in spring training?

Yesterday’s swap of Russ Canzler for Chris Dickerson tweaked the team’s depth chart. Based on who’s in place today, here’s an idea of what the Yankees would do if there were a serious injury to one of their regular position players.

CATCHER
Starter:
One of four
Backup:
One of three
Basically, there are four options coming to camp, and it’s anyone’s guess whether Austin Romine, Chris Stewart, Francisco Cervelli or Bobby Wilson will emerge with the job. If one of them gets hurt, it only takes one option off the table and it becomes a three-man race. As it stands, the catcher position is nothing but backup options.

FIRST BASE
Starter: Mark Teixeira
Backup: Kevin Youkilis; Russ Canzler; Jayson Nix
If Teixeira goes down, the Yankees would have two options: Put someone new at first base, or move Kevin Youkilis to first and put someone new at third. Veteran Matt Diaz has only played 2.2 innings at first base in his big league career, so he’s not much of an option. It would likely come down to Canzler. Is he hitting enough to play first? If not, then it might make more sense to put Nix at third base and shift Youkilis to first. If Teixeira gets hurt after Alex Rodriguez comes back, putting Youkilis at first should be a no brainer.

SECOND BASE
Starter: Robinson Cano
Backup: Jayson Nix; one of the young guys
Arguably the most difficult position to fill if the Yankees have to dig into the second string. Without Cano, the Yankees would have to either take this chances on upside or go with someone steady. Taking chances would mean giving Eduardo Nunez another shot at the position — which they seem unwilling to do — or give one of the kids (David Adams or Corban Joseph) a shot. If the risk/reward route isn’t promising, the best bet is probably Nix.

SHORTSTOP
Starter: Derek Jeter
Backup: Eduardo Nunez
There should be something to said for Nix’s steady glove at short, but at this point, there’s more to be said for just giving Nunez the job and seeing what happens. Last year, the Yankees sent Nunez to the minors so that he could get regular playing time and try to sort through is defensive issues. If Jeter goes down — or comes back more slowly than expected — the Yankees will owe to themselves to find out once and for all whether Nunez has any real value to the organization. They’ve decided Nunez is a shortstop. This has to be his job if becomes open.

THIRD BASE
Starter: Kevin Youkilis
Backup: Jasyon Nix; Russ Canzler
Just like at second, Nix would be the steady, know-what-you’re-going-to-get option at third. But with Canzler on the roster, the Yankees have something at third base that they don’t have at second: A guy with two full years of Triple-A experience and a handful of big league at-bats. If Canzler hits and fields well enough to make the big league roster, he’s probably playing well enough to be considered the second string option at third.

OUTFIELD
Starters: Curtis Granderson, Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki
Backup: Matt Diaz; Russ Canzler
It really doesn’t matter which outfielder goes down, the backup option is going to be the same. It’s going to be whichever of the two right-handed options — and the Yankees are hoping to find at least one more before spring training — is playing well enough to win a roster spot. Even if it’s the team’s center fielder (Gardner or Granderson) who gets hurt, one of the current corner outfielders would move to center and the new guy would takeover in the corner.

Associated Press photo

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32 Responses to “The second string: Looking for backup options”

  1. PacoDooley January 5th, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    From DFA to being a backup option at three positions on the Yankees – nice week for Russ Canzler

  2. blake January 5th, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    @Ken_Rosenthal: Sources: #Rangers finalizing agreement with Berkman. Deal expected to be one year. Vesting option possible.

  3. Ys Guy January 5th, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    ” PacoDooley January 5th, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    From DFA to being a backup option at three positions on the Yankees – nice week for Russ Canzler
    ==================================================
    dickerson did the same thing the other way.

  4. blake January 5th, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    @Ken_Rosenthal: Sources: Berkman deal with #Rangers will be in $10M-$11M range for one year.

  5. The Return of Stoneburner January 5th, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    AndrewMarchand Mo thinks the last five percent will come quickly, but he isn’t all the way back yet.

  6. that guy January 5th, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    I see Russ Canzier getting a ride on the DH-1B-3B Merry go Around (at least until A-Rod is back, then who knows). His minor league stats are quite intriguing to say the least. http://www.milb.com/milb/stats.....pid=444453

    And then when Jeter is healthy Eduardo Nunez plays another year in AAA while Jayson Nix plays IF when someone needs a day off or DH’s.

    In reality though it’s all gonna come down to how the starting pitching does.

  7. blake January 5th, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    @Ken_Rosenthal: Sources: Berkman agreement with #Rangers done, pending physical, as @JonHeymanCBS said. Terms: One year plus vesting option, $11 million.

  8. ron January 5th, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    Bingo,but i wouldn’t let granderson walk when you can trade him for a nice prospect that is ready,even if you throw in a prospect with granderson.
    Cano the same way,but we should of traded them,then signed hamilton,and,or other free agents to replace the lost offense,and we would of gootten some nice prosprcts back,that are closer than heathcott,williams,austin,etc… that can be starting now.

    The yankees are going to need a lot of players in 2014 with very little money to get them,so they simply will not be good.It’s not possible.
    Why not trade granderson for an olt,start him now,but we missed the opportunity to sign hamilton to keep us competing.

    This is going to be ugly.
    What happens if nova,and phelps are just not good enough?
    We will need 4 starting pitchers alone.

    Terrible game plan.
    Our prospects have to work out,in a timely fashion,or we are in trouble,and we will have almost nobody on the 25 that has much value to be able to trade.

  9. The Return of Stoneburner January 5th, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Nice article on ESPN re: the Angels – - – -

  10. Ys Guy January 5th, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    i would have tried to trade cano this offseason too, but not so i could just throw the money at hamilton. i think if they could sign cano to a 6 year deal after this year, that’s money better spent than hamilton’s 5 year deal with less risk.

    it seems to me that they intend to sign cano after this year.

  11. ron January 5th, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    I agree about 6 years for cano,and maybe they pull it iff,but i doubt it.
    One chance to cash in.
    Also,the reason i say trade cano,then sign hamilton,is because we replace the lost offense,and get ml ready,top prospects back.
    Big difference than just signing cano,then getting into a bidding war to keep him,and losing granderson for a far away pick.

    We would be in much better shape trading cano for a ml ready,top 3b,and 2b prospect,then signing hamilton instead of just signing cano.

  12. blake January 5th, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    @Ken_Rosenthal: Latest on Justin Upton. #DBacks-#Padres talked Upton-for-Headley (failed to progress), #Rangers want to offer Olt-plus. http://t.co/p1XmoTLt

  13. Jerkface January 5th, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Sigh, gonna be hard to beat Olt+.

  14. blake January 5th, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Jerkface says:
    January 5, 2013 at 4:54 pm
    Sigh, gonna be hard to beat Olt+.

    Eh unless the Dbacks just really want that 3B the yanks could beat it if they wanted…..Sanchez is actually ranked higher on a lot of lists than Olt is…..just depends on what Towers wants and if they have to be big league ready or not…..Texas has offered Olt to like everybody and nobody had bit yet…..I think maybe some teams are worried about his contact rates

  15. Jerkface January 5th, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Yea but Olt+ is a lot different from Sanchez+ in terms of present day value. Olt could start for the dbacks next year. Sanchez will be in A+.

  16. blake January 5th, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Jerkface says:
    January 5, 2013 at 5:08 pm
    Yea but Olt+ is a lot different from Sanchez+ in terms of present day value. Olt could start for the dbacks next year. Sanchez will be in A+.

    That’s true….if towers wants a 3B to start in 2013 then the Yanks can’t match Olt…..but maybe he saw Adams in the AFL or something and liked him plus Sanchez or mason?

    Maybe a package like Sanchez/Mason, Adams, and nova would be better than Olt and Perez etc…..

  17. The Return of Stoneburner January 5th, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    .287 BA, 21 HRs, .900+ OPS, 24 years old in AA – who am I?

    .288 BA, 28 HRs, .900+ OPS, 24 years old in AA – who am I?

  18. The Return of Stoneburner January 5th, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    I would think Towers would want Gumbs over Adams – greater potential and stronger personal connection – - – -

  19. blake January 5th, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Gumbs isn’t ready for the big leagues….Adams is close

  20. blake January 5th, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    2nd one is Olt …. Not sure the first

  21. blake January 5th, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    @JonHeymanCBS: #dbacks seek young pitchers from #orioles for kubel. To this point Baltimore disinclined to do that.

  22. Jerkface January 5th, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Olt was 23 in AA tho

  23. blake January 5th, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    Perhaps the Yanks can give them Young pitching and a good prospect or two in a deal?

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