As we approach Opening Day, there is one serious problem with the Yankees that needs to be addressed—the bench.
As it stands, the bench will be C Jose Molina, SS Cody Ransom, OF/1B Nick Swisher (barring a trade), and CF Melky Cabrera.
This is not a deep bench, and it could be the Yankees' downfall if Alex Rodriguez or Derek Jeter gets injured.
Potential help for the team has already been signed by other clubs, limiting the Yankees' options.
Here's what's left for them to sign.
C Ivan Rodriguez: Wants regular playing time, lousy in his time with the Yankees.
C Paul Lo Duca: Played himself out of a job in both Washington and Florida.
2B Damion Easley: Not a good option; was not strong with the Mets and was replaced by Alex Cora.
2B Orlando Hudson: Unlikely; he wants regular playing time, most likely for the Dodgers or Nationals.
2B Ramon Martinez: Spent 2008 in the Mets' AAA affiliate. Not a good option.
SS Orlando Cabrera: Type A free agent; not likely because the Yankees already owe first through third rounders to the Angels, Jays, and Brewers.
SS Nomar Garciaparra: Unlikely; most likely to go to Philadelphia or retire due to injuries.
1B/3B Rich Aurilia: More likely to end up in the NL, where he can get more playing time.
3B Joe Crede: Wants to play every day; will likely end up on a team such as the Giants or the Twins.
DH Jose Vidro: Can play second base, but hit poorly with the Mariners, causing him to be released.
While there are still many outfielders available, upgrading is not possible with Xavier Nady and Swisher around, as none of the free agents is an upgrade over them.
Had the Yankees addressed this issue before signing Mark Teixeira, they might be in better shape going into the season.