Odds for Each Yankees Player on the Bubble of Making the Final 25-Man Roster
The New York Yankees roster consists of a flurry of stars and a vast collection of bubble players who will need to fight during spring training to crack the final 25-man squad.
With depth in the middle infield, manager Joe Girardi will have to make some tough decisions throughout the spring. Each middle infielder offers similar versatility and skills at the plate, though it might come down to who performs best as camp closes and the regular season begins.
Relief pitching is the area where the most surprising cuts will come. With the retirement of Mariano Rivera and the departure of Boone Logan via free agency, several spots out of the bullpen are up for grabs.
The likes of David Robertson, Matt Thornton, Shawn Kelley and Preston Claiborne will have roles in some capacity. Robertson will be the closer, but the remaining spots have yet to be filled. They'll likely come from in-house candidates.
There will be some very competitive position battles in Tampa in the coming weeks. You're not going to want to miss them. Here are the odds for each Yankees player on the bubble of making the roster.
1. Eduardo Nunez
Eduardo Nunez is without a clear spot on the roster despite being a regular presence in each of the past three seasons.
In all likelihood, the Yankees are simply fed up with their once-promising prospect. General manager Brian Cashman brought in the likes of Brian Roberts, Kelly Johnson and Brendan Ryan this offseason, which likely spells the end for Nunez in the Bronx.
He'll certainly compete in the spring but his production will likely appeal to other teams more than the Yankees. I could definitely foresee a situation in which Nunez gets dealt at the end of the spring for a veteran arm out of the bullpen. That's the best thing Nunez can do for the Yankees this year.
Nunez has been given several opportunities to succeed. His fielding continues to be atrocious. He has poor pitch selection at the plate. While a fast runner, he's not a good baserunner. Unfortunately, he hasn't shown the ability to mature as a player.
The Yankees cannot afford to give Nunez more chances at the major league level. Other teams can. I think we'll see a trade at some point.
Chance of Cracking the Roster: 5%
2. Austin Romine
Austin Romine caught 60 games for the Yankees last season, though his stats at the plate were far from pleasing. He posted a line of .207/.255/.296 with just one home run and 10 RBI.
Granted, Romine is known as a defense-first catcher. He didn't even excel there in his first lengthy stint in the bigs, though. The league average for catching base stealers is 26 percent. Romine caught just 21 percent.
Romine was in line for a spot on the roster prior to Brian McCann's signing earlier in the offseason, but you can pretty much throw those chances away now.
In all likelihood, Francisco Cervelli will back up McCann. Cervelli is a fan favorite because of his hustle and propensity for clutch hits. Plus, Cervelli has more experience in the bigs. Romine could do well with more seasoning in the minors.
Don't count on Romine cracking the roster out of spring training, but he'll be the first catcher up if there's an injury of any kind.
Chance of Cracking the Roster: 5%
3. Scott Sizemore
Sizemore didn't play at all in 2012 and played just two games in 2013 with the Athletics. That makes him a wild card for a roster spot.
Kelly Johnson is currently in line to get regular at-bats at third base, but a strong spring from Sizemore would put him in the mix for some at-bats as well. Sizemore has played 97 of his 157 career games at third base, though his fielding percentage at the position is just .934.
The Yankees need Sizemore to play well in the spring. He's a much better fielder than Nunez despite the low fielding percentage, and his ability to provide consistency at the plate makes him valuable. He could make a real impact on the Yankees as a bench bat.
In the end, it will all come down to how well he performs. The Yankees won't just hand him a roster spot. He'll need to earn it. If he flashes any signs of his 2011 breakout season, then he'll be on the team.
Chance of Cracking the Roster: 65%
4. Adam Warren
Originally viewed as a starter, Adam Warren will be in line for a spot in the bullpen in 2014. He posted strong numbers out of the pen in 2013, and the Yankees will be hoping he shows more of the same production in the spring.
He had a 3.52 ERA as a reliever over 69 innings, striking out 56 and walking 27 along the way. Warren pitches to contact (evidenced by his 1.464 WHIP as a reliever), but he'd be a quality candidate for a mop-up role.
The thing with Warren is that prior to last season he was that guy who could never make the jump to the bigs. He was lit up for six runs in 2.1 innings in his lone start of 2012, and his minor league numbers were never impressive enough to warrant a full-time promotion to the Show.
Given the lack of depth of this bullpen, though, Warren is more than deserving of a spot. Who knows? He might even end up as an extremely useful weapon for Girardi in the middle of games.
Chance of Cracking the Roster: 65%
5. Manny Banuelos
Manny Banuelos was once a top prospect in the team's system, but injury and poor production have caused many to forget about him.
However, Brendan Kuty of NJ.com reports that he'll be given a look this spring: "And he'll get a look this spring to showcase his change-up and left-handed delivery. He's healthy, and Brian Cashman has said he'll get a chance."
Outside of Matt Thornton, Cesar Cabral is the only other left-hander with a realistic shot at grabbing a bullpen role. Banuelos could easily out-pitch Cabral in spring training, giving him the job instead.
A starter by trade, it doesn't appear as if Banuelos will be locking down the No. 5 starter's job. Michael Pineda and David Phelps will be in competition for that role. Vidal Nuno will also be given an outside chance.
Banuelos might have to wait another year or two before cracking the rotation. He'll need to prove himself as a reliever first.
Chance of Cracking the Roster: 25%
6. Matt Daley
Matt Daley has major league experience, though not much over the past two seasons. He made 85 appearances between 2009 and 2010 for the Colorado Rockies but has made just 14 since.
In 2009, his rookie season, Daley logged 51 innings with 55 strikeouts and an ERA of 4.24. He posted the same ERA over 23.1 innings the following season.
His first season with the Bombers came in 2013, and he's perhaps most famous in New York for being the guy who relieved Mariano Rivera in his final home game. He allowed just two hits (no walks and no runs) in his six innings last season.
Daley's funky delivery and different arm angle make him an interesting option for this bullpen. He has shown the ability to be effective at times, and the Long Island native can be an impact performer if productive out of the gate.
Daley has a great shot at making this team.
Chance of Cracking the Roster: 80%