New York Yankees: Examining All the New Faces of the 2013 Bombers
Spring training has officially begun for the New York Yankees.
On Tuesday, pitchers and catchers reported down to Tampa, Fl to get prepared for the 2013 season.
Over the next month and a half, we will see coverage of the Yankees during their time in Tampa on the YES Network, MLB Network and ESPN.
There will be some new names and faces that will be wearing the pinstripes and some will even be looking to make the roster.
Some of the new names were brought in on minor league deals with invitations to spring training with hopes of making the team.
Lets look at some of the new names we will see for the Yankees this spring.
The Yankees brought in long-time utility infielder Dan Johnson on a minor league deal back on Jan. 24.
The left-handed hitter spent most of 2012 with the White Sox's Triple-A team, but will likely be looked upon to replace the departed Eric Chavez.
After two years in the Bronx, Chavez signed a one-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, which left a void in the Yankees' bench and in their depth chart.
Johnson has a very good chance to make the team and take that spot left by Chavez.
His versatility is what could earn him a roster spot.
The Yankees brought in long-time utility outfielder Matt Diaz back on Dec. 26, 2012.
The 34-year-old Diaz was limited to just 51 games with the Braves due to needing thumb surgery.
The Yankees had three of their outfielders from 2012 leave via free agency this winter: Raul Ibanez, Andruw Jones and Nick Swisher.
Swisher's spot has already been filled by Ichiro Suzuki, so the other two spots are up for grabs.
Ibanez was supposed to be a DH, but with Brett Gardner's injury, Ibanez ended up playing more in the outfield than expected, as did Jones.
Diaz is going to be competing for the fourth and fifth outfield spots for the Yankees, and since he's a right-handed bat, he could very well claim it.
The question the Yankees will be looking for with Diaz is, is he fully recovered from the surgery and how will it affect his swing?
The Yankees added more catching depth by bringing in Bobby Wilson back on Dec. 13, 2012.
Both of the starting and backup catchers spots on the Yankees roster is wide open and there will likely be a competition for both jobs.
With Russell Martin now with the Pittsburgh Pirates, it's the one spot on the team that has yet to be solved, and unless general manager Brian Cashman makes a surprise move, the candidates are all at Tampa.
Wilson will compete with Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart and Austin Romine for those catching jobs.
Romine is expected to start out the season in Triple-A, which likely means the competition is down to those three.
Wilson is a solid defender, as is Stewart, so he will have to step his game up if he wants to be playing in the Bronx come April.
The Yankees reunited with one of their former prospects by signing Juan Rivera back on Jan. 28.
Back on Jan. 17, I had raised the question of whether or not the Yankees should look into bringing in Rivera, and 11 days later, it happened.
The Bombers traded Rivera along with Nick Johnson to the Montreal Expos back in December 2003 in the deal that landed the Yankees Javier Vazquez.
Rivera will likely be competing with Diaz for the fourth and fifth outfield spots and a chance to be a partial DH.
Because of the voids left by Ibanez and Jones, it really gives guys like Diaz and Rivera a real opportunity to make the roster and be part of the major league team.
When Rivera was in his prime, he was a good 20 home run, 80 RBI hitter.
Now as a part-time player, the Yankees would hope he can be a 10 home run, 50 RBI guy, while primarily facing left-handed pitching.
The Yankees brought in Travis Hafner back on Jan. 31 and signed him to a one-year, $2 million deal.
Unlike the others mentioned before, Hafner has a guaranteed major league contract and is expected to be the team's DH.
When Hafner was in his prime with the Indians, he was an MVP candidate who hit 30 to 40 home runs and drove in 110-120 runs per season, but injuries have derailed his career.
After the last 10 years in Cleveland, the 35-year-old slugger will get a chance for a fresh start and get playing time every day in a Yankees lineup that could use some extra pop in it.
Along with Ibanez, Martin and Swisher, Alex Rodriguez will be out as well, which is quite a bit of home runs and RBI power that Cashman needed to replace.
If Hafner is anywhere near the hitter he once was, he could turn out to be an utter steal for the Yankees, especially since Yankee Stadium is a bit of a home run haven for left-handed hitters.
I personally like the Hafner move and as long as he stays healthy, I can see this move working out well.
The biggest acquisition of the winter for the Yankees was kind of a shock to a lot of fans.
In the week prior to Youkilis' signing, the debate was whether the Yankees should bring him or Mark Reynolds in to fill the third base spot.
Reynolds signed with the Indians, which really meant that Youkilis was all but going to the Yankees, especially for the money they were offering.
The Yankees made the offer to Youkilis on Dec. 6, 2012, so he had almost a week to think about whether or not he wanted to play in New York or play at home with Cleveland.
If healthy, the Yankees are getting a gritty player that brings toughness to a Yankee lineup that needs it.
When Youkilis was in his prime, he was a 20 home run, 80 to 90 RBI hitter with the Red Sox.
Youkilis joins a list of players such as Babe Ruth, Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens and Johnny Damon as former prominent Red Sox who all were brought in by the Yankees and eventually, won a championship with the team.
Could Youkilis follow the trend of his former Boston players by doing the same in New York?