It's t-minus 14 days until pitchers and catchers report to Steinbrenner Field in Tampa for spring training, giving Brian Cashman two weeks to improve the roster before he and the Yankee front office get a look at the squad.
The 2013 Yankees, as currently constituted, are worse on paper than last year's team. They only have one major addition in Kevin Youkilis, who will largely be filling in for the injured Alex Rodriguez, while several key players have departed.
How will the Yankees make up for their lack of production?
That issue, as well as injuries to some of the Yankees' veterans, have raised questions during the Yankees' offseason that have still not been answered.
While Brian Cashman hasn't publicly stated that he is shopping Curtis Granderson in trade offers, it would make sense for him to be.
The power-hitting outfielder is entering the last year of his contract and the likelihood of the Yankees re-signing him is iffy, at best.
The slugger his 43 home runs in 2012 but struck out 195 times and only posted an .811 OPS. Further complicating the question is the Yankees' self-imposed spending limit of $189 million in 2014 to get under the luxury tax threshold. It's questionable whether the team could get their salary that low while re-signing the Grandy Man.
Granderson's trade value will decline sharply once the season starts, since under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement a team cannot receive draft compensation for losing a free agent that the team traded for during the season.
Brian Cashman has always had the ability to pull a trade out of nowhere (see: Jesus Montero for Michael Pineda last offseason), but I don't see him dealing Granderson in the next two weeks. It is something to keep an eye on, though.
The Yankees' depth chart lists Francisco Cervelli, who had one official at bat in 2012 and hit .246 for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as their number one catcher, but believe it or not I think he will be the team's catcher on Opening Day.
For one thing, the list of remaining free agent catchers is pretty underwhelming. The team will probably bide its time with a combination of Cervelli and Chris Stewart until it feels that Austin Romine can assume the position full-time, or until they play so poorly that a trade is necessary.
For another, Joe Girardi was a defensive-first catcher who values pitch selection and a quality backstop in that position over another bat for a strong lineup. Sure, a Jorge Posada is great, but he's happy with a catcher who can man the position.
Cervelli may not be the team's catcher when the season ends but I do think he'll be there on Opening Day.
When the Yankees' captain broke his ankle on October 13, fans were concerned both for the rest of the 2012 playoffs but also for the beginning of the 2013 season. Doctors estimated the recovery time for his surgery to be four to five months, which put the 38-year-old's Opening Day at risk.
But after he took grounders and batting practice yesterday in Tampa, it looks like he's on pace to be in the lineup in a couple of months.
Nothing will keep the captain out of the lineup to open the season. He may take more days off than we're accustomed to seeing, but he'll be at shortstop against Boston on April 1.
I'm not buying it.
The Yankees certainly have incentive to keep him out all season, with his $28 million salary insured if he misses the year. But the team cares about winning and a healthy Alex Rodriguez gives the team a better chance to win.
It may not be until August, but A-Rod will play this year.