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

Look who’s coming to camp: Outfielders

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Feb 02, 2013 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

The Yankees starting outfield is set, but there’s a legitimate competition to find a right-handed hitter who can play off the bench. The candidates range from big league veterans on minor league deals to young prospects trying to get noticed. It’s not wonder the Yankees invited a bunch of guys to camp.  

Three of these players will play everyday in the big league outfield. The question is, will one of the others make the team in a reserve role?

Zoilo Almonte
Switch hitter slugged .487 in Double-A last season. Have to think he’s ticketed for right field in Triple-A. Could be a sleeper for the big league team.
Ramon Flores
A left-handed hitter and generally a left fielder — though he can play center — Flores is a legitimate prospect with a .362 career on-base percentage. Should open the season in Double-A.
Brett Gardner
The only decision is whether he’s the regular center fielder or left fielder. Oh, and whether he hits at the top or the bottom of the order.
Curtis Granderson
Could move to left field this season. Probably no longer a No. 2 hitter.
Melky Mesa
Extremely toolsy, Mesa is a right-handed hitter with the speed and defensive ability to be an excellent fourth outfielder. Can he hit well enough to win the job this spring?
Ichiro Suzuki
Signed to a two-year deal to be the Yankees regular right fielder. Trying to build on a strong second half.

Three right-handed outfielders, at least one of whom has a very good chance of making the team.

Matt Diaz
The veteran is coming off two years of injuries and disappointing numbers. Trying to win a job as a platoon outfielder, and his chances went up after Russ Canzler was DFA.
Thomas Neal
Released by the Indians, Neal has a handful of big league at-bats to his credit, but he spent most of last year in Double-A. Was once fairly highly touted.
Juan Rivera
Now 34 years old, the former Yankees prospect is trying to win a platoon job as either a corner outfielder or designated hitter. Power numbers have slipped in recent years.

Technically Abe Almonte was signed as a minor league free agent, but he came up through the organization, so I have a hard time counting him that way. Of this group, Mustelier is the only one locked into a Triple-A spot.

Abe Almonte
Brought his prospect status back from the dead with a strong Double-A season that included 30 steals. Mostly a center fielder.
Tyler Austin
One of the Yankees top prospects. Got all the way to Double-A last year, though he could open this season back in High-A. Elite young hitter.
Adonis Garcia
Easily overlooked, the Yankees are high on the 27-year-old Cuban who can play all three outfield positions and has a solid right-handed bat. Hit .288/.325/.492 after a late promotion to Double-A last year.
Slade Heathcott
If he stays healthy, he could be in the big leagues next year.
Ronnier Mustelier
Another Cuban outfielder. Has played mostly left field (and third base) and has hit .324/.378/.497 through two seasons in the U.S.
Rob Segedin
Primarily a third baseman until last year when he moved to the outfield corners. Struggled after a mid-season promotion to Double-A. Should return to that level.

There are a good number of outfielders who can handle the infield corners, but there aren’t many infielders who are real go-to options in the outfield. These might be two exceptions.

Jayson Nix
The Yankees could give him a few innings in the outfield to get him ready for a super utility role. If the Yankees carry only one true outfield reserve (a bench of – let’s say – Nunez, Stewart, Diaz and Nix) then Nix might legitimately need to fill in as an outfielder from time to time.   
Jose Pirela
Still listed as an infielder, but he saw considerable time in left field both last season and during the winter.

Associated Press photo





45 Responses to “Look who’s coming to camp: Outfielders”

  1. J. Alfred Prufrock February 2nd, 2013 at 5:08 pm


    J. Alfred Prufrock February 2nd, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    Against All Odds February 2nd, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Ghostwriter February 2nd, 2013 at 2:02 pm
    How could he keep up his end if they had no desire to ever start him again after 2009. In 2011.


    The same way that Nova did: By being lights-out when he did get into games, earning more chances to prove that the managment had given up on him to soon, which in turn, could have led to another shot at the rotation when somebody got hurt.


    Nova was sent down and allowed to actually continue his development.

    Again how could he get another chance to be a starter when they said you’re a reliever and that’s it. He could have walked on water and they wouldn’t have gave him another chance. Do you think if he was lights out as a reliever they would have said ok now be lights out as a starter.


    You’ve got to be kidding!

    You want to compare Joba and Nova, as having been given equal opportunity to develop as starting pitchers?

    I was wrong earlier: Joba did not have even 88 miL innings. He had under 84 IP in the minors.

    How many did Nova have? BEFORE they sent him down for tweaking?

    574.4 IP.

    He debuted in 2010 and was sent down in 2011, where he got to develop his slider.

    You talk about lack of persuasiveness, but all you’ve had to say about Chamberlain is that he got many chances – where are those chances??

    When a starter in the making struggles at the ML level – especially one who put together such a stellar rookie season, and one who can hit 100 mph on the gun and who has a fabulous secondary offering, plus a CB and changeup – he’s sent to the minors for further construction, retool, to get more innings in a less stressful environment, etc.

    What’d they do?? They put a 24 year old into the bullpen and threw away the key! After 84 miL innings (again: Nova: 574.4 miL innings, plus 16 more innings when he was sent down in 2011).

    Care to explain, again, how Joba’s primarily responsible for not developing enough in their split-second time frame to become a front-end answer?

    You really think this wasn’t worth another trip to the minors for further cultivation?

    10.58 K/9 (a 3.03 K/BB rate/ 2.96 as starter), 52 % GB rate, .45 HR/9 (this is a young righty power pitcher whose home starts are in Yankee Stadium, mind you), .265 FIP, LD rate under 15 percent, 1.24 (1.30 as starter). WHIP – in 100.1 IP (65 as starter) 2008. OPS+ against 71.

    Do you think, maybe, he might have been allowed some hiccups in 2009? Most young pitchers have a tougher time in their second season. Instead, they tried to reinvent the wheel with those 4 inning stints that even Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia rolled their eyes at.

    Eppler and Eiland steered the ship on this: and they blew it.

    When a talented young starter like Joba coughs – guess what? That’s where development STARTS; not where you fold your tent and go home.

    Development of young arms – especially from a guy who spouts such sophomoric nonsense as “Pitching is the key to the kingdom” and “I have a dream,” of all things – really should be made of sterner stuff.

    Cashman either didn’t have enough backbone to oppose Eppler/Eiland, or was just too inexperienced to stay with his original stance that he would be reared as a starter and that relief work was a temporary thing. Maybe his original “tough” stance really had no conviction behind it, to begin with.

  2. J. Alfred Prufrock February 2nd, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    Against All Odds February 2nd, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    he made me want to pull my eyeballs out of their sockets with those constant 20 pitch innings,


    That’s the life of a young pitcher. Ppl wanted to pull their eyes out with Hughes and Nova.

    Well, let’s by all means, defer to the comfort level of YsGuy and others instead of giving a 24-year old with a dynamite arsenal and a great rookie season as a starter a reasonable period of time to develop.

    Joba’s arm, or YsGuy’s eyeballs….

    No wonder we cancelled him.

  3. yankfan1 February 2nd, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    C ( 1 of Romine or Stewart or Cervelli)
    1B Tex
    2B Cano
    3B Youk
    SS Jeter
    LF Grandy
    CF Gardner
    RF Ichiro/ (One of Diaz or Mesa or Mustelier or Zoilo?)
    DH Hafner/ Nunez

    Bench: C ( 1 of Romine or Stewart or Cervelli), 2B/SS/3B Nix


    CP Mo
    SU Robertson
    MRP joba
    MRP Aardsma
    MRP Logan
    MRP Rapada/ Cabral
    LRP Phelps

    I think thats the 25 man. Not sure if im missing anyone. Hoping romine and mesa stand out and make the Yankees decision easier. I feel its Diaz’s job to lose though

  4. yankeefeminista February 2nd, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    As a starter in seasons 2008 and 2009, Joba had a 3.8 WAR, which was 4th on the team after Pettitte, Sabathia and Moose.

  5. yankeefeminista February 2nd, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    *Of course, Moose only pitched in 2008.

  6. yankeefeminista February 2nd, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    I just received an email from the Yankees shop and once again the shirt they are pedaling is Kevin Youkilis’. That says it all.

  7. Against All Odds February 2nd, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    No wonder we cancelled him.


    And then Cashman blamed it on Joba smh lol.

  8. jmills February 2nd, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Yf, love Youk and, Blondie.

  9. J. Alfred Prufrock February 2nd, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    We’re going in circles. You obviously view Joba as some sort of victim, but object to anybody pointing it out. My point is that Joba isn’t a victim. Joba is a guy that failed to become a solid big league starter, and he–and nobody else– owns primary responsibility for that failure.


    I don’t think this is a credible position, in light of the facts.

    Even your use of the word “victim” seems overwrought. I didn’t call Joba a victim – did Odds?

    I thought he simply reasoned that Chamberlain received a cup of coffee, at best, in terms of being given time to become a starter.

    I just showed you how good his initial foray into starting in MLB was. How did he even get a real chance to succeed or fail?

  10. jmills February 2nd, 2013 at 5:30 pm;rel=0

  11. J. Alfred Prufrock February 2nd, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Against All Odds February 2nd, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    No wonder we cancelled him.


    And then Cashman blamed it on Joba smh lol.

    Odds, that’s what’s so amateurish about these guys. They have unrealistic ideas about development. Even Girardi comes out and says “young pitchers don’t have the luxury in New York to develop” at the MLB level.

    That is a very odd statement; who deprives them of the luxury? Answer: the Yankees don’t have the stomach, so instead, they assign this timeline, this “luxury” to supernatural forces or something, that are preventing them from growing a pair.

    How does this statement of Girardi’s even square with Cashman’s “pitching wins” and “pitching is the key to the kingdom” (as long as we aren’t in charge of actually developing them?).

  12. J. Alfred Prufrock February 2nd, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Odds, I do think if Rothschild had been the PC instead of Eiland, Joba might be in the rotation today.

    I hope that Rothschild, and the addition of Gil Patterson in the system, will reverse this trend, and that we start walking the talk.

  13. jmills February 2nd, 2013 at 5:44 pm;rel=0

    Cardigans – rock on mon amis

  14. yankeefeminista February 2nd, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Congrats to Austin Romine.

  15. J. Alfred Prufrock February 2nd, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    LOL, I hadn’t seen Tex’s quotes until now.

    Well, Tex just basically wrote the manifesto on why Cashman roundly blew it by dealing away Montero last year.

    Tex basically supported, chapter and verse, the viewpoint that our offense has been in decline since 2009, with Tex as a pivotal figure in that decline.

    His key point: “don’t expect me to get better going forward.”


  16. Jerkface February 2nd, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Nova had a far worse year in 2012 than Joba did in 09. I’m looking forward to him being in the bullpen next year.

  17. J. Alfred Prufrock February 2nd, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    yankeefeminista February 2nd, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Congrats to Austin Romine.…..40/photo/1

    That’s fantastic. Congrats, indeed :D. Here’s hoping mom and baby doing well and that papa’s back troubles vanish.

  18. jmills February 2nd, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    ” If I could read your mind, love “

  19. J. Alfred Prufrock February 2nd, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    Jerkface February 2nd, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Nova had a far worse year in 2012 than Joba did in 09. I’m looking forward to him being in the bullpen next year.

    LOL. If they did this, they would receive a great deal of support from this community.

    Every decision they make is the right decision. On everything.

    And if you’re half serious, I would not be in agreement (I’m anticipating the sloppy-logic trolls twisting my post: “Prufrock doesn’t believe in Nova!!”)

  20. mick February 2nd, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    Tex is soft. Not what many thought he would be.
    Not the hitter we thought he was.
    Giambi-like, seduced by the porch.
    Not a fan or team favorite.
    And now he’s tweeting and selling.
    Out for himself and proud of it.

  21. mick February 2nd, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Joba was a 5 inning pitcher, where is the logic?

  22. jmills February 2nd, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Every time I try and open a page, it doesn’t work! :) Led Zeppelin, it is!!!

  23. jmills February 2nd, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    Mick, hi, I kno u don’t like Rush much; all the same, what a band!

  24. J. Alfred Prufrock February 2nd, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    jmills February 2nd, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Yf, love Youk and, Blondie.

    jmills, you can have him all to yourself. Give me Edwin in exchange :D

  25. mick February 2nd, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    mills you are rush obsessed…
    never really listened in the 80′s.

  26. Jerkface February 2nd, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    Joba was a 5 inning pitcher, where is the logic?

    So was Hughes in 2007, 08, and 09

    Joba in 09: 5.45 IP per start
    Hughes 07: 5.53
    Hughes 08: 4.25
    Hughes 09: 4.85

    SOMEHOW one was a horrible failure doomed to the pen and the other is *still starting*

  27. yankeefeminista February 2nd, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    “Although Major League Baseball is cracking down even harder on drug cheats, one of the nation’s top authorities on performance-enhancing drugs in sports said he doesn’t think baseball is anywhere close to eliminating the problem.

    “I think any sportswriter that would use the term ‘post-steroid era’ or ‘post-growth hormone era’ is a damn fool,” said Dr. Charles Yesalis, one of the nation’s top experts on PEDs.

    Yesalis has testified three times before Congress on PEDs.

    Said one agent who represents more than a dozen players: “These ballplayers are smarter than we are.”

    Read more here:

  28. mick February 2nd, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    disco and madonna crushed music…

  29. jmills February 2nd, 2013 at 6:00 pm;rel=0

    Sir Donna Mills

  30. mick February 2nd, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    OYS was the killing field for disco….remember the disco sucks chants.

  31. mick February 2nd, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    Joba suffered from comparison to himself.
    Where he was clean and efficient, overpowering as a reliever, he was laborious and measured as a starter.

  32. J. Alfred Prufrock February 2nd, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Joba in 09: 5.45 IP per start

    Yea, and that includes over-management of his innings, including those absurd abbreviated starts.

    If you go back to 2008, in five of his last six, he went 6 or more innings.

  33. Nick in SF February 2nd, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    Don’t post angry.

  34. mick February 2nd, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    I think if you asked Joba he would admit his mentality is more geared to relief rather than starting.

  35. J. Alfred Prufrock February 2nd, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    “I think any sportswriter that would use the term ‘post-steroid era’ or ‘post-growth hormone era’ is a damn fool,” said Dr. Charles Yesalis, one of the nation’s top experts on PEDs.


    Y-y-y-ya mean….it isn’t just…. ALEX????!!!????!!!

  36. J. Alfred Prufrock February 2nd, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    One pill makes you larger
    And, one pill makes you small
    And the ones that
    Mother gives you
    Don’t do anything at all..

    Go ask Alex….
    And like 800 other guys :D

  37. yankeefeminista February 2nd, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    Even the great David Price wasn’t exactly economical during his SP initiation. Becoming an SP is a process. Relief pitching is cake comparatively. Comparing prospects pitching out of the BP vs. the SP is like comparing apples to oranges.

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