New York Yankees: 5 Moves NY Will Make by End of Spring Training
With pitchers and catchers reporting in just a few weeks, baseball season is right around the corner.
The Yanks are bringing back the majority of their roster, while adding a couple of pieces in Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda.
That being said, the New York Yankees still have some roster moves to take care of.
No. 5: Sign a Backup Infielder
Through all of the searching for starting pitching, the Yankees have neglected a key area of their team.
They currently only possess Eduardo Nunez as a backup infielder—unless you consider Ramiro Pena a viable option.
Personally, I would like see the Yankees re-sign Eric Chavez.
Last season, he missed a lot of time due to a freak injury, but while he was with the team, he provided solid defense and an above average bat. He proved that he could give A-Rod days off when he desperately needed it.
Chavez can help Rodriguez stay fresh.
Regardless of who it is, look for the Yankees to make a move for a backup infielder.
No. 4: Who Is Going the Be the No. 5 Starter?
The Yankees went from having a very questionable rotation with CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, AJ Burnett, Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia, to having a very strong rotation with the additions of Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda.
With the addition of those two men, there are now three pitchers vying for the coveted fifth spot in the rotation.
Burnett, Hughes and Garcia are all going into spring training in battle mode. The losers will likely be pushed to the bullpen or even potentially traded.
The vast majority of Yankee fans want to see Hughes in the rotation.
He is still young and has shown flashes of brilliance in the past (his no-hit effort in Texas a few years ago rings a bell). Now that he is reportedly healthy again, he should be coming into spring training with fire at his back.
Look for him to force the Yankees' hand and put him in the rotation—banishing Garcia to the bullpen and either the same fate for Burnett or a trade.
Speaking of which...
No. 3: Deal the Extra Starter
The problem that every club wishes they had—what to do with an extra starter?
Every Yankee fan is certainly hoping that the extra starter is AJ Burnett. Since joining the Yankees in 2009, he has done nothing but disappoint and frustrate fans with his inconsistency.
In his first season, he posted a 4.04 ERA, and it has jumped up to above 5.00 in the last two seasons.
The tricky part of dealing Burnett will be his contract. With two years and about $33 million remaining on his contract, there are not many teams that are willing to take him on.
The only logical solutions are:
- trade him as a salary dump and receive little in return
- eat a large portion of his contract in order to receive more in return
- trade him for another "bad contract."
Some bad contracts that come to mind (and this is pure speculation on my part) could include Carlos Lee from the Houston Astros, Jason Bay from the New York Mets or Adam Dunn from the Chicago White Sox.
The other alternative, if it is Hughes that is not in the rotation, is that the Yankees dangle him over a team in return for a young, controllable hitter that can fill in the DH slot.
Some players that may fit here (once again, pure speculation on my part) could include Billy Butler of the Kansas City Royals, Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles or even trading to get Jose Tabata back from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Which brings us to...
No. 2: Solve the DH Position
With spring training only a few weeks away, there are still many players out there looking for work.
Some of the big names left for the DH position include Johnny Damon, Raul Ibanez, Vladamir Guerrero and Hideki Matsui.
Since trading stud prospect Jesus Montero to Seattle for young pitcher Michael Pineda, the Yankees have a vacancy in the DH position.
Currently, Eduardo Nunez or Andruw Jones are penciled in as the DH.
Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman has stated that he does not want to spend a lot of money on the DH position, as there are options in-house that could produce at the position, such as Nunez or Jorge Vazquez (32 HR, 93 RBI at AAA last season).
Therefore, any of the big four mentioned above would have to be willing to take a small paycheck, likely around $1 million or $2 million for a year, if they are to join the Yankees.
Or, the Yankees could target a DH through trade, specifically by trading one of Hughes/Burnett/Garcia, whichever does not win the last rotation spot out of spring training.
No. 1: Move Top Prospects to AAA for More Seasoning
Look for the Yankees' top prospects to be in spring training until close to the end.
Dellin Betances, Manny Banuelos, Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez are all amongst the Yankees' upcoming prospects that are likely to succeed in the majors.
The Killer B's are likely to reach the majors in 2013 or 2014 at the latest. Therefore, look for the Yanks to send them down to AAA again for some more seasoning and improvement of their skills.
Austin Romine will likely be down at AAA with Montero moving on to Seattle. Sanchez will likely move up to full season A, but may warrant a promotion to AA next season.