For the last eight weeks or so, at times, I’ve pondered over the Yankees Opening Day roster this season. Since the 2009 regular season is right around the corner, let’s take a look at the battles for those spots on the roster which appear to be still open.
At this junction, it’s safe to assume that these players have made the Opening Day roster:
Posada Sabathia Molina Wang Teixeira Burnett Cano Pettitte Jeter Chamberlain Ransom Rivera Matsui Bruney Damon Marte Nady Swisher
That’s 18 players which leaves seven spots to be determined.
It’s not a reach to suggest that those seven spots can be broken down as follows:
- Starting CF
- Three RP
- Back-up Infielder
- Utility Player/Pinch Runner
- Wildcard – either a 12th Pitcher or a 3rd-String Catcher
Now, the “Starting CF” and “Utility Player/Pinch Runner” will probably be Brett Gardner and Melky Cabrera – with one getting one spot and the other getting the other spot. That’s easy.
And, the “Back-up Infielder” will probably be Angel Berroa – as much as the thought of him being on the Yankees does not thrill me.
So, that leaves the “Three RP” and “Wildcard” spots open for debate. Here are the players under consideration:
Pitchers: Brett Tomko, Anthony Claggett, Dan Giese, Kei Igawa, Alfredo Aceves, Jonathan Albaladejo, Phil Coke, Edwar Ramirez, Jose Veras and David Robertson.
Position Players: Kevin Cash or Shelley Duncan.
Looking at these names, and factoring in who has done well this Spring, and considering that Jorge Posada is coming off surgery for a major injury, I think that Kevin Cash will make the Opening Day roster and the Yankees will go with three catchers and eleven pitchers. Therefore, this leaves Tomko, Claggett, Giese, Igawa, Aceves, Albaladejo, Coke, Ramirez, Veras and Robertson fighting for three spots in the Yankees bullpen.
From here, I can see Phil Coke, Edwar Ramirez, and Jose Veras getting the call. Maybe, just maybe, if Ramirez is not sound, then perhaps Brett Tomko, Jonathan Albaladejo or David Robertson gets a chance.
How about you? If you were running the Yankees, which 25 players would you bring north when the bell rings?