Putting the finishes touches on a roster is all about need and availability. While the Yankees are working to finalize their roster, they’ve made right-handed hitters a priority, and that’s why they claimed Russ Canzler on Friday.
Canzler can play the outfield (which the Yankees need), he can backup at third base (which the Yankees need) and he can hit for power from the right side (which the Yankees badly need). The Yankees claimed him from Cleveland, and made room on the roster by designating Chris Dickerson for assignment.
Dickerson is a nice player. He’s a good defender at three outfield positions, can steal a base, and has pretty good career numbers against right-handed pitching. But the Yankees already have an abundance of left-handed, speed-oriented center fielders.
The Yankees clearly like Dickerson — they traded for him, kept him on the roster quite a bit in 2011, put him back on the roster with a September call-up in 2012 — but there simply wasn’t a spot for him given the way this team is currently constructed. He’s out of options, which means sending him to Triple-A was never a possibility.
Is Canzler a better player than Dickerson? I don’t know. Frankly, they’re incredibly different, and the answer probably varies from team to team. For the Yankees in this state of need and availability, Canzler fit and Dickerson didn’t.
• Nick Swisher officially joined the Indians with a press conference during which he had kind words to say about his time with the Yankees. “I had a wonderful time when I was in New York,” Swisher said. “What an honor to be there for the time that I was. We had an absolute blast, but we had to move on. To be in the situation we are now, representing the Cleveland Indians, I’m so excited. New York was an amazing time.”
• Ken Davidoff reported that the Yankees had some interest in bringing back Lance Berkman, who was injured most of last year but had a tremendous 2011 when he thrived in his return to the outfield. He’s a switch hitter and could have fit as the team’s primary designated hitter, but he agreed to a deal with the Rangers yesterday.
• Still no announced surgery date for Alex Rodriguez, but Brian Cashman says Rodriguez has not suffered a setback and the expectations for him have not changed. The Yankees have a surgery date in mind, they’re just not announcing it yet.
• It was announced that the Yankees will open the season with a 1 p.m. first pitch on April 1. Not surprisingly, the game will be televised on ESPN.
• Despite their desire for additional right-handed help in the outfield, the Yankees are not interested in Delmon Young, according to a report from Joel Sherman.
• Might be overly optimistic, but Yankees scouting director Damon Oppenheimer said this week that he believes both Mark Montgomery and Slade Heathcott have a chance of reaching the big leagues in 2013. It’s not much of a reach with Montgomery — a college reliever who seems poised to move quickly — but it would be somewhat surprising to see the Yankees suddenly push Heathcott quickly after previously taking things slowly with him.
• The Yankees didn’t add anyone on minor league deals, but a few familiar names did land elsewhere: Kevin Whelan (Reds), Jeff Marquez (Reds), Brian Gordon (A’s) and Scott Proctor (Giants).
• All of the Yankees Triple-A coaching staff is returning next season, including International League Manager of the Year Dave Miley.
Associated Press photos