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


Yankees not built to lean on veteran depth this year

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Feb 21, 2013 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

When Michael Pineda’s shoulder went out last spring, the Yankees had Freddy Garcia — and eventually Andy Pettitte — to fill the void. When Brett Gardner kept having setbacks, Raul Ibanez was available to play left field. When Alex Rodriguez broke his hand, Eric Chavez was a ready replacement.

“I don’t think you really know how good your depth is until you get tested,” Joe Girardi said. “And then, once you go through what we went through last year, we found out it was pretty good. But until you go through it, and you have to run guys out there every day — a lot more than they’re supposed to — you don’t really know how good it is.”

It’s true, we can’t say anything definitive about the Yankees depth this season, except for this: It’s very different from years past. Instead of having a series of veterans in backup roles, the Yankees are designed to lean on their youth in a time of need.

“There’s less experience there,” Girardi acknowledged.

Thing about the Phil Hughes injury. It looks like he’ll be back in plenty of time for Opening Day, but if he’s not, second-year spot starter David Phelps is the natural replacement. Beyond Phelps? Adam Warren and Dellin Betances are the only other starters — outside of the obvious big leaguers — who have even one big league start.

Who fills the Yankees depth chart this year?

ROTATION
First string: CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova
Second string: David Phelps, Adam Warren, Brett Marshall, Dellin Betances, Michael Pineda (eventually)
The Yankees did not go out of their way to bring an additional veteran starter into camp. They might find someone before Opening Day, but for now, the veteran options go away quickly.

BULLPEN
First string: Mariano Rivera, Dave Robertson, Joba Chamberlain, David Aardsma, Boone Logan, Clay Rapada
Second string: Cody Eppley, Shawn Kelley, Jim Miller, Chase Whitley, Josh Spence, Juan Cedeno, David Herndon (eventually) Cesar Cabral (eventually), Mark Montgomery (eventually)
This is the one place where the Yankees actually do have quite a few experienced backups. Granted, guys like Eppley and Kelley aren’t proven setup relievers, but no team has that sort of proven relief pitcher just waiting around in Triple-A. The Yankees have stockpiled a handful of guys who have had some success in the big leagues, and they have some upper level relief prospects in the mix as well (including several I didn’t even list here).

CATCHER
First string: Chris Stewart, Francisco Cervelli
Second string: Austin Romine, Bobby Wilson
Hard to tell much difference between the first string and second string at this point, and these names could flip flop before the end of spring training. The Yankees catching problem actually isn’t about depth — they have plenty of legitimate backups — it’s about not knowing whether any of these guys can be an everyday player.

MIDDLE INFIELD
First string: Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano
Second string: Eduardo Nunez, Jayson Nix, Corban Joseph, David Adams, Gil Velazquez
Last spring the Yankees brought Bill Hall to camp as a just-in-case option. The spring before that, they had Ronnie Belliard. This year, it’s all familiar faces plus Velazquez, who’s started a total of 15 big league games in his career. Nunez is actually one of the most expierienced options.

CORNER INFIELD
First string: Mark Teixeira, Kevin Youkilis
Second string: Dan Johnson, David Adams, Corban Joseph, Ronnier Mustelier, Alex Rodriguez (eventually)
No more Eric Chavez. At some point, the Yankees expect Rodriguez to come back and add some corner depth, but for now there’s not much keeping the Yankees from using guys who haven’t played above Double-A.

OUTFIELD
First string: Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, Ichiro Suzuki
Second string: Matt Diaz, Juan Rivera, Melky Mesa, Thomas Neal, Ronnier Mustelier, Zoilo Almonte
Most likely, there’s room for only one of Diaz and Rivera, and those two are really platoon options. Beyond that, there’s no Dewayne Wise or Chris Dickerson under contract. Mesa (2 at-bats) and Neal (23 at-bats) are the only other outfielders with big league experience. There’s a chance guys like Slade Heathcott, Tyler Austin and Adonis Garcia could play their way into the conversation at some point, but that would take something fairly extreme.

Associated Press photos

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92 Responses to “Yankees not built to lean on veteran depth this year”

  1. Chip February 21st, 2013 at 8:23 am

    In fairness, the Yankees kept a lot of veterans around last year at AAA (Branyan, Cust, Fukudome, Dickerson, Ramon Ortiz, Igarashi) and hardly used any of them because, even though they might have been useful in the case of some injuries, they weren’t useful enough to warrant spots on the 40 man roster.

  2. austinmac February 21st, 2013 at 8:23 am

    MTU,

    Big Bend was very interesting. It made me think of you and your high desert hikes. I will post photos soon.

    The recent spending articles raise some hope, but we shall see. It may just be Hal trying to show the fan base he is trying.

  3. MTU February 21st, 2013 at 8:25 am

    Thin at 3rd and the corners IMO.

    The Pitching is well-defended.

    Age-related risk factor is high.

    Luck be a Lady.

    ;)

  4. Chip February 21st, 2013 at 8:26 am

    Mac -

    The big issue I have is that I don’t want Hal to spend just to say that he’s spending. I don’t want the reaction to be “we need to trade prospects for established players because the fan base won’t tolerate us playing prospects”

  5. MTU February 21st, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Mac-

    Glad to hear you survived. I look forward to them.

  6. MTU February 21st, 2013 at 8:39 am

    Chip-

    I agree with you. I’m not interested in seeing wild spending. Just smart spending.

    And a continued emphasis on an excellent Farm system.

    That said, seeing the Yankees financial edge blunted, at least temporarily, was not totally advantageous IMO.

    Don’t want to see them artificially constrained by some Sellig “Rube Golderg” invention.

    I hope to see both going forward because it’s a winning formula.

    And I like us winning.

    ;)

  7. Shame Spencer February 21st, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Morning all.. just a couple more days until baseball!!

    *Happy Dance*

  8. trisha - true pinstriped blue February 21st, 2013 at 8:41 am

    I’m off for a while – meaning leaving my house – but here’s something I think about/wonder about. I’m sure I’ve suggested it before, but I believe there may be something to it.

    Here’s the thesis statement: Yankee players are more prone to injury, or more frequent injury, because they feel the need to play harder/prove more because they play for the Yankees. A substatement is that Yankee players may have more cold spells than other players because they press harder and feel they have more to prove because they play for the Yankees.

    Phil Hughes’s most injury caused me to start thinking about that again.

    Are there random players on other teams who may feel the need to play harder than usual because they need to prove something (fighting for a position, etc.)? Sure. But player for player I believe it’s more prevalent on the Yankees. And the reasons would be evident.

    :(

    See ya for now.

  9. MTU February 21st, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Greetings and felicitations Madame Shame.

    :)

  10. blake February 21st, 2013 at 8:44 am

    @Joelsherman1: Column http://t.co/KGoueBKXH6 #Yankees expect to score less so need to pitch well, which why can’t have Hughes fall to injury history again

  11. MTU February 21st, 2013 at 8:45 am

    Trisha-

    I think every future Yankee should be genetically screened at birth for the appropraite level of toughness.

    :)

  12. randy l. February 21st, 2013 at 8:46 am

    “dr dooms call for a boycott is laughable.”

    what’s laughable are yankee apologists who are so ignorant that they are always late to the party, behind what’s going on, a day late and a dollar short.

    hal’s 189 plan had no chance.

    the yankee brand would have ben so diminished so quickly that hal would take a huge hit to the bottom line.

    yankee ticket holder are already jumping onto the boycott.
    the problem that hal is going to have with changing his mind and starting to spend again is that there aren’t necessarily good to great free agent players available at all times.

    cano should have been locked up two years ago because of his advanced age to get the decline years off the back end of the contract.

    on a separate but related note, when will it dawn on hal that after this year, pineda has only three years left before free agency?

  13. Shame Spencer February 21st, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Morning MTU! That was such a proper good morning.. only a gentleman like yourself could deliver a greeting like that ;)

    Did everyone see the article from ESPN yesterday???? Team Greedy may no longer be flat-lining….

  14. blake February 21st, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Love it that Cashman is admitting they are gonna score fewer runs…..so basically they are gambling on them pitching and preventing more runs than last year…..a risky gamble if you don’t have a the Giants rotation

  15. MTU February 21st, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Randy-

    This should be a particularly interesting season.

    ;)

  16. Shame Spencer February 21st, 2013 at 8:50 am

    trisha – For our sake, I hope you’re wrong lol!

    Ultimately, I’ve always seen the strength of the Yankees being that no one guy needed to be The Guy. I hope they’re not all trying to be The Guy.

  17. MTU February 21st, 2013 at 8:52 am

    Shame-

    At my age I’m allowed to flirt a little.

    Besides, you deserve it.

    :)

  18. blake February 21st, 2013 at 8:59 am

    “Did everyone see the article from ESPN yesterday???? Team Greedy may no longer be flat-lining….”

    Problem is that Wally wrote that which means its probably just speculation

  19. MTU February 21st, 2013 at 9:01 am

    Would anyone characterize Hughes as “injury-prone” at this point ?

    Or does he seem to have about the normal injury profile for a young Pitcher ?

    I’m thinking it’s tilted towards the former.

  20. MTU February 21st, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Blake-

    “Problem is that Wally wrote that which means its probably just speculation”

    Wally’s World ?

    Or was that “Wayne’s World”.

    At least it wasn’t “Loopycat”.

    :)

  21. Shame Spencer February 21st, 2013 at 9:10 am

    blake February 21st, 2013 at 8:59 am

    “Did everyone see the article from ESPN yesterday???? Team Greedy may no longer be flat-lining….”

    Problem is that Wally wrote that which means its probably just speculation

    ————–

    It’s funny, I can’t remember the last time I found myself hoping that ESPN’s reporting was accurate.

    I was also thinking maybe this was just something being leaked by Boras to turn the pressure up.

  22. Shame Spencer February 21st, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Besides, you deserve it.

    —————-

    I know.

    :D

  23. Shame Spencer February 21st, 2013 at 9:12 am

    A list of the weirdest Twitter accounts: Martha Stewart, Diane Keaton, and John Cleese.

  24. Jerkface February 21st, 2013 at 9:14 am

    The Yankees owners hate paying money to teams that don’t spend and pocket it.

    Too bad this has nothing to do with the luxury tax :) I’m sure the Yankees wanted to sell fans on the idea that they don’t want to pay luxury tax to other teams, but… the LT doesnt go to other teams. Revenue sharing does, and they cannot get out of paying that.

  25. MTU February 21st, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Catch you all later.

    The Mopheads are demanding I take them out.

  26. Shame Spencer February 21st, 2013 at 9:19 am

    @Ken_Rosenthal

    Column explains why #Padres are confident that Cabrera will avoid suspension, but asks: Should they be? http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/s.....ase-022013

    ———————–

    No one is getting suspended but Alex.

  27. Jerkface February 21st, 2013 at 9:26 am

    I don’t think the Yankees players are any more susceptible to the DL because of ‘passion’ than any other team. More likely they are injury prone due to things like age, and the fact that recently the Yankees have not signed real free agents but instead acquired questionable guys on 1 year deals.

    Hughes is definitely injury prone at this point. Health is a skill, but its unknown until they actually start getting into their career.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs.....formation/

    Here is the 2010 information, many many teams have more injured than the Yankees.

  28. randy l. February 21st, 2013 at 9:27 am

    “Here’s the thesis statement: Yankee players are more prone to injury, or more frequent injury, because they feel the need to play harder/prove more because they play for the Yankees. A substatement is that Yankee players may have more cold spells than other players because they press harder and feel they have more to prove because they play for the Yankees”.

    trisha-

    it’s a given that it takes a mentally tougher player to play for the yankees when they are winning championships.

    i’ve always thought that the quiet toughness that the early 60′s yankees had were part of their DNA.

    to me it goes without saying that any yankee player has to have this inner toughness to play in a championship run. jeter, posada, rivera, and pettitte all have it.
    the yankees brought in guys like nettles and randolph who had it too. munson without a doubt led the late seventies championship teams.

    i believe that when jeter and mariano go, the yankees are past the point of no return in having this kind of player on the team. i think had the yankees kept melky and montero they’d have a nucleus along with cano that would have learned from jeter, mariano, posada, and pettitte how to play the game the yankee way.

    it wouldn’t have hurt to have had joba developed as a starter too. hughes has shown some toughness in battling through cashman’s mishandling of him his whole career. robertson is cashman’s biggest success and it was accidental in that he wasn’t given the yankee “special treatment” that hughes,joba, and kennedy got.

    roberstson is not only talented , but he has a mental toughness about him. he’s the kind of guy the yankees used to have lots of. now, not so much

  29. Tackelberry February 21st, 2013 at 9:28 am

    Girardi excited about power arms in camp. He specifically mentiones Bryan Mitchell, Jose Ramirez and Corey Black. ANother one I’ve heard good things about is Preston Claiborne. ANyone know anything about him?

  30. Shame Spencer February 21st, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Corey Black is such an awesome name…

  31. pat February 21st, 2013 at 9:54 am

    “No one is getting suspended but Alex.”

    Even if it means MLB asking someone to do something illegal to get the information to do it acording to the Daily News today.

  32. randy l. February 21st, 2013 at 10:01 am

    “Too bad this has nothing to do with the luxury tax I’m sure the Yankees wanted to sell fans on the idea that they don’t want to pay luxury tax to other teams, but… the LT doesnt go to other teams. Revenue sharing does, and they cannot get out of paying that.”

    is there anyone on the yankees who actually knows more than jerkface about the new cba rules and how it affects finances ? is that even possible?

    kind of tells you where the yankees are at that they’d very likely have a hard time sitting down with with jerkface with a camera running and answering his questions about the financial implications of the CBA.

    hal is sitting in this very strange position where the yankees are worth a couple of billion dollars right now. his ideas of austerity have already cost the yankees ticket sales. he himself must know he doesn’t have a clue how to proceed in a way that would increase the value of the team.

    i think mtu’s intuition that hal and the steinbrenners will sell sooner than later is probably correct.
    giving fans and the media the impression the yankees will be all in on signing cano buys hal at least 18 months.

  33. Shame Spencer February 21st, 2013 at 10:12 am

    kind of tells you where the yankees are at that they’d very likely have a hard time sitting down with with jerkface with a camera running and answering his questions about the financial implications of the CBA.

    ————————

    Unlike the seats behind home plate, I’d actually pay $1,000 to see this happen.

  34. Shame Spencer February 21st, 2013 at 10:13 am

    pat – I didn’t see that piece, I’m reading it now… I just don’t get how they can try to take one player down with this ship while everyone else is just shrugging this stuff off.

  35. jacksquat February 21st, 2013 at 10:15 am

    is there anyone on the yankees who actually knows more than jerkface about the new cba rules and how it affects finances ? is that even possible?

    I’m sure the Yankees have highly paid professionals who can actually read the CBA as well as and probably better than jerkface or I or some others here if they wanted to take the time to read it.

  36. bruceb February 21st, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Randy I. 8.41 am

    Excellent post. The Steinbrenners’ current fiscal policy is akin to Warren Buffett asking me if he can borrow $1,000 to invest in a few more shares.

    Or to steal a line from Monty Python’s Dennis Moore”

    He steals from the poor
    And gives to the rich
    Stupid b–ch

  37. austinmac February 21st, 2013 at 10:28 am

    I would be content for Jerkface to serve as the Yankees’ expert on the CBA. He would be able to explain to Hal the payroll cut sought is 20% and not 10%.

    Pick your poison–Hal doesn’t understand or he gives us a baldfaced lie. Neither is particularly endearing.

  38. Phranchise February 21st, 2013 at 10:39 am

    I actually am going the opposite way. I think the offense will decline modestly if they can stay healthy. The biggest issue I have with this offense is the ability of Tex and Cano to stay healthy. You loose one of those guys for a while and you are in trouble. I actually think a full year of Ichiro and Gardner will manufacture runs. I think Youkilis, Hafner, Gardner, etc will get more baserunners on. Less homer reliant yes. Maybe less explosive. But I have wanted to see a balance to this lineup for some time. The biggest issue is the age and guys staying healthy. But this lineup – minus the catching spot may actually make pitchers work a little more and score more consistent runs per game rather than blowing another team away one game and seeing them go completely cold the next. Or maybe I am just to hopeful!

  39. Against All Odds February 21st, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Wait are ppl actually upset about Joba’s mustache? Is it really that serious? He’ll probably shave it before the season starts. Hughes wore something similar a couple of yrs ago and everyone got a kick out of it but Joba does it and he needs to grow up wtf.

  40. Doreen February 21st, 2013 at 10:43 am

    randy -

    I will never fault an executive for trying to be fiscally responsible. They saw a way to regroup and decided to try to take advantage of that. I do not see that as a bad thing in and of itself.

    But fiscal responsibility has many facets to it, and I hope that what I’m hearing is that the Yankees (especially in the person of Hal Steinbrenner) are not intractable with respect to the 189.

    I was also taking the line of thought, with this budget, that it was an opportunity for the Yankees to establish the idea that they are not going to be totally irresponsible in the contracts they give out. For example, they may go nuts for Cano, but I’m hopeful we won’t see them involved in a bidding war for the likes of the Carl Pavano’s of the league. And in going nuts for Cano, I also hold out hope that they don’t simply put themselves in another set of handcuffs a la Rodriguez, but are able to be creative enough so that both parties are happy with the end product contract.

    I said Hal is in a learning curve – this is a job he has had to learn on the fly, pretty much. I’m okay with that.

    I do wish, however, the man would smile every so often. He’s a good looking sort – a shame he always looks pained. (If I had to look at R Levine, I’d probably look the same way! ;) )

  41. Against All Odds February 21st, 2013 at 10:47 am

    Was there a reason he needed to tell reporters that not only had he reached out to Kevin Youkilis but that he hadn’t heard back from Kevin, thus making it a “thing?”

    ————————————————

    He didn’t make it a thing he was asked a question and answered it. It was first reported that they had been in contact with each other and everything was settled which wasn’t true because Youk didn’t return his call.

  42. Shame Spencer February 21st, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Can we agree these guys are the injury concerns for this season?: Tex, Gardner, Hughes, Andy, Joba, and Youk.

    My second tier question marks would be: Jeter, Grandy and Mo, only because of age/excessive usage.

  43. Shame Spencer February 21st, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Against All Odds February 21st, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Wait are ppl actually upset about Joba’s mustache? Is it really that serious? He’ll probably shave it before the season starts. Hughes wore something similar a couple of yrs ago and everyone got a kick out of it but Joba does it and he needs to grow up wtf.

    ——————–

    Hughes’ mustache was so funny.. gave me middle school flashbacks.

    Can someone post a pic of Joba?

  44. DONNYBROOK February 21st, 2013 at 10:52 am

    So Trout shows up at Angel’s camp and weighs in at More than Pujols? To be continued…………

  45. MaineYankee February 21st, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Doreen

    I do wish, however, the man would smile every so often. He’s a good looking sort – a shame he always looks pained. (If I had to look at R Levine, I’d probably look the same way! )

    —————————————————————————-

    He probably has a big laugh when he reads some of the posts here. :lol:

  46. Shame Spencer February 21st, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Here’s a question: If the Yanks backtrack on the budget, do the fans get blamed for worrying over nothing or are we championed as the sole cause of the about face?

    Team Greedy is still a sleeping giant… someone wake that motherf*cker up!!!

  47. jacksquat February 21st, 2013 at 10:57 am

    At this point we have no idea if the 189 limit has been lifted, so it’s a little early to be bragging about who gets credited.

    We have no idea yet afaik about ticket sales.

    We can only be sure that if the Yankee bean counters tell Hal that he’ll make more money by spending than by scrooging then he’ll spend.

  48. austinmac February 21st, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Shame,

    It has been reported your complaints personally freaked out Hal. You get all credit along we us, your devoted followers.

  49. jacksquat February 21st, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Gardner had a significant injury once, so I would not call him injury prone yet.

  50. Against All Odds February 21st, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Shame Spencer February 21st, 2013 at 10:50 am
    Against All Odds February 21st, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Wait are ppl actually upset about Joba’s mustache? Is it really that serious? He’ll probably shave it before the season starts. Hughes wore something similar a couple of yrs ago and everyone got a kick out of it but Joba does it and he needs to grow up wtf.

    ——————–

    Hughes’ mustache was so funny.. gave me middle school flashbacks.

    Can someone post a pic of Joba?

    ———————-

    http://yankees.lhblogs.com/wp-.....2/Joba.jpg

  51. DONNYBROOK February 21st, 2013 at 11:01 am

    So let me get this straight, Doreen is chasing Hal, and Shame is after Chad?

  52. MTU February 21st, 2013 at 11:04 am

    So. I’m just back from walking the Mops.

    Has Hal sold yet ?

    :)

  53. MTU February 21st, 2013 at 11:04 am

    New thread ——>

  54. Shame Spencer February 21st, 2013 at 11:17 am

    @JackCurryYES

    Granderson will start taking flyballs in left field today. This is precursor to Gardner shifting to CF and Granderson moving to LF.

  55. Ys Guy February 21st, 2013 at 11:33 am

    so apparently derek jeter actually does have a personality

    and if you make him millions of dollars he will display in in front of people who paid thousands to listen and get an autograph.

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