Let’s call it what it is. This video is … not the best. There was such a crowd waiting for Alex Rodriguez’s first public comments since the end of last season, even being pretty close to him left me in a pretty bad spot. There were literally moments Monday when I was just holding my iPhone in the air, hoping I had Rodriguez’s face in the shot.
The video’s not great, but since it’s been such a long time since any of us had actually seen Rodriguez, I figured I’d try to put some usable bits and pieces together into something fairly coherent. As you’ve already read, he basically passed on any questions about Biogenesis, but did talk a little bit about his rehab and recovery.
And that’s why the video makes some sense this morning. With seven Yankees on the disabled list, it’s worth wondering — if only for the fun of it — what might happen as these guys get healthy and make their way back onto the roster. Here are the names, in a vaguely chronological order of when they’re expected to be activated.
Eligible to be activated on Saturday, but that seems all but impossible at this point. In fact, there seems to be a chance that Jeter won’t be back until closer to mid April, but he should still be the first position player activated. So who goes when Jeter arrives? Ben Francisco will probably lose his regular DH role, but I still tend to think it will be Brennan Boesch optioned to Triple-A when Jeter arrives.
There may be a chance that Hughes will be ready before Jeter, but it doesn’t really matter. They affect totally different people. The easiest roster move for Hughes would be sending Adam Warren back to Triple-A to be stretched out as a starter, and I tend to think that’s what the Yankees will do. But there might be something to be said for optioning Cody Eppley, giving David Phelps important middle-inning relief opportunities, and keeping Warren as a true mopup/long man.
Stayed in Tampa because he’s close to losing the protective brace and starting some baseball activities beyond shagging fly balls without throwing them. Still probably a month away, and who goes when he arrives could be a matter of who’s playing well (and who else has been hurt). As a general rule, though, I have to think Francisco or Boesch — whichever one is left after the Jeter move — would be the one to lose his spot to Granderson.
So far, so good with Teixeira who said he’ll be examined again in a little more than a week in hopes of being cleared to swing the bat with both hands. If he stays on track and doesn’t suffer any damage to the actual tendon, Teixeira could be back in early May and leave the Yankees to almost certainly DFA Lyle Overbay. Hard to imagine a spot for him with both Teixeira and Travis Hafner on the roster.
When the Yankees decided to DFA Clay Rapada, I listed four left-handed reliever who give the Yankees enough depth to make the Rapada decision make sense. But I managed to forget Cabral. He was facing hitters by the end of spring training, yet the Yankees crowded 40-man roster left them little choice but to put him on the 60-day. That means Cabral won’t be activated for a couple of months — at which point the bullpen will have surely changed — but it only makes sense to imagine him taking the place of either Warren, Eppley or Shawn Kelley, whichever right-hander is struggling to pull his own weight. And because he’s still under some Rule 5 restrictions, Cabral will have to be activated to the big league roster once he’s healthy.
Progress has been steady for Pineda, and there seems to be at least a chance the Yankees could have him in the rotation — or at least a candidate to the rotation — by the early summer. As for who’s place he takes, that probably depends on how he’s pitching and how the individual big league starters are pitching. After a lost year, it might make some sense to give Pineda plenty of time in Triple-A, but if his fastball is back and his slider is biting, Pineda just might be able to take the place of any big leaguer who’s struggling a little bit, potentially pushing guys like Phelps, Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes to continue proving themselves.
In the best-case scenario where everyone above, and everyone on the current roster, has gotten/stayed healthy, the return of Rodriguez would seem to complete the puzzle. He would most naturally bump Jayson Nix from the roster (or Eduardo Nunez if Nunez isn’t getting the job done). But that’s a long, long way down the road.