(Image: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports)

Yankees Links 2/12: Rejoice! Spring Training is Officially Here!


Well, the baseball season has officially begun. There’s no better feeling in February than seeing the best sport in the world return to action. Sure, it’s only a player throwing a leather ball at another player a gazillion times, but it’s a start. Soon, hitters will be introduced, then actual games! Anyway, here are some links and commentary from around Yankee Land.

Let’s see what you got, Aardsma. (Image: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports)

According to Anthony McCarron (via Twitter), Yankees reliever David Aardsma has thrown four bullpen sessions before spring training. This bodes well for the righthander who is working back from Tommy John surgery. He has closer experience from his time with the Seattle Mariners and could serve a huge role for the Yankees this season.

That said, he could presumably replace Cody Eppley if he has a strong spring. Aardsma is a career 4.22 ERA (4.50 xFIP) pitcher, who pushes for strikeouts (9.08% career K%). His career walk rate (5.06%) and groundball rate (35.2%) are a little scary, especially for pitching in Yankee Stadium. In his last season in the MLB, he recorded 31 saves and a 3.44 ERA (4.04 xFIP) in 53 appearances. He blew five saves that season too. I know many people who are excited about adding him to the bullpen, but just because he has closer experience, doesn’t mean he’s that great of a pitcher. His career numbers are a bit underwhelming, but who knows how he’ll return from his injury.

Chad Jennings of the Journal News released the numbers of some of the Spring Training invitees. The Yankees ran out of double-digit numbers for a multitude of reasons. Consequently, since retired numbers aren’t used, even during Spring Training, players need to double up numbers this season. Here’s a list compiled by Jennings:

No. 87 — C Francisco Arcia and RHP Corey Black
No. 88 — OF Tyler Austin and LHP Juan Cedeno
No. 89 — 1B Greg Bird and RHP Preston Claiborne
No. 90 — SS Cito Culver and RHP Nick Goody
No. 91 — OF Adonis Garcia and RHP Shane Greene
No. 92 — OF Slade Heathcott and RHP Tom Kahnle
No. 93 — SS Walter Ibarra and RHP Bryan Mitchell
No. 94 — 1B Luke Murton and RHP Mark Montgomery
No. 95 — OF Ronnier Mustelier and RHP Zach Nuding
No. 96 — SS Addison Maruszak and LHP Vidal Nuno
No. 97 — 2B Jose Pirela and RHP Mike O’Brien
No. 98 — 1B Kyle Roller and RHP Kelvin Perez
No. 99 — OF Rob Segedin and RHP Branden Pinder

I still remember the quote — as harsh as it is — from Rickey Henderson who said, “If your numbers add up to more than 10 at Spring Training, you’re not making the team.” However not likely most of the players won’t make the team, there are a few I’m definitely watching. For instance, Tyler Austin, who is one of the best hitters in the system. (Read up on YGY Prospect Outlook on Tyler Austin). I’m also excited to see what Slade Heathcott can do, along with Mark Montgomery, who has a very good chance of making the club some time this season.

Finally, Curtis Granderson revealed he wants to stay a Yankee for the rest of his career, according to both Erik Boland and Anthony McCarron. While talking with reporters he reiterated his wishes:

“I’d be a fool not to … I’m so excited about this fourth season (with the team) and hopefully this isn’t the last one.”

We’ve said it all along here at YGY, it’ll be tough to re-sign Granderson. Like Swisher, he priced himself out of New York with his play especially his perceived power going forward and with this self-imposed budget. Robinson Cano is the bigger priority, he’s younger and provides more all-around offense than Granderson. Meanwhile, Granderson is also heading into the twilight of his career and we’re already seeing his regression.

He provides great power no doubt, but the Yankees can’t expect that to continue going forward. Plus, with the plethora of young outfielders behind him (Heathcott, Austin, Mason Williams) along with Brett Gardner, the club might be better served to let him walk, save the money for other pressing needs, and allow their homegrown talent emerge.

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Tags: New York Yankees