Chris O'Meara/Associated Press
Right Field: Carlos Beltran
Center Field: Jacoby Ellsbury
Left Field: Brett Gardner
Reserves: Alfonso Soriano (DH) and Ichiro Suzuki
General manager Brian Cashman spent a ton of money on his outfield this winter. As a result, the team needs all three starters to produce at a high level.
In order to produce, they'll need to stay healthy. That's where it all starts for this group. Jacoby Ellsbury has a pretty extensive injury history (even if they were a result of bad-luck outfield collisions), Carlos Beltran's knees aren't what they used to be and Brett Gardner has also had run-ins with the injury bug from time to time.
When healthy, this outfield can rank among the top units in the American League. Beltran will benefit from the short porch in right field when he bats lefty, and Ellsbury could see his home run totals rise because of the short field as well.
Alfonso Soriano will spell Beltran in right field from time to time, though he'll serve as the primary designated hitter this season. Of course, he'll relinquish that role when Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and others need a half-day off.
The player with the most questionable role on the team is Ichiro Suzuki. It's really unclear as to where he fits in. With just one more year left on his contract, Ichiro might be forced into a full-time bench role before testing free agency after the season.
He would be valuable in that role, as he can play all three outfield positions well. His bat is a liability at this point, however.
I wouldn't be surprised if he was dealt by the end of spring training.