Much has happened over the course of Spring Training that has molded the look of the New York Yankees. It is safe to say that nobody expected the Yankees to be in the current shape that they are in. But with just a few days left before Opening Day, what have been the highs and the lows for the team throughout the spring?
Let’s begin by getting the obvious out of the way – injuries have taken their toll on an aging team. Much has been said and written about the injuries that key players such as Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, and Curtis Granderson have sustained. It will be tough for the Yankees to stay afloat while all three are injured at the same time.
But sticking to an on-field agenda, what has caused trouble for the Yankees?
One thing that sticks out in my mind is the inability to find a solid first baseman in light of the Teixeira injury. The Yankees originally tried filling the position with Juan Rivera, and while he has hit well, he has not played the field the way that the Yankees had envisioned him to. They recently signed Lyle Overbay to a minor league contract, but although he plays better defense than Rivera, he has not been a consistent hitter in years. This leaves the Yankees with the option to go with a decent hitter but a bad fielder, or vice versa. They could always move Kevin Youkilis to first base, but that would leave a hole open at third – one that they don’t feel can be covered on a day-to-day basis by any current player on the roster.
Another low point for the team thus far has been finding a third outfielder. While the position that opened up due to the Granderson injury by the newly acquired Vernon Wells, it is unknown whether Wells will be able to be a good player. With him being the most likely left fielder, the Yankees have still needed to find a fourth outfielder. They have many options, but it doesn’t appear as though they have a front runner.
Despite the fact that everything bad seems to happen to the Yankees right now, they have had some high points throughout the spring.
First off, they have gotten good springs from Youkilis, Brett Gardner, and Ichiro Suzuki. These three players were some of the question marks for the team headed into Spring Training. While spring stats mean virtually nothing, it does give some peace of mind to know that they are ready for the season.
The Yankees have also gotten to see some good performances from their young stars. Ronnier Mustelier, who is still fighting for a spot on the team in big league camp, has been a nice surprise. He and Ben Francisco have been the most consistent fourth-outfielder options for the team.
Also a high point for the team has been the settlement of the catching situation. Coming into Spring Training, everything was up in the air regarding the catcher position. However both Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart seem to have shown that they can hold their own against other teams. Both players’ defense has been really good, and the Yankees might not have to worry about offensive production with their two catchers.
It is almost time for the Yankees to make the trip up to New York to begin a different, but no doubt interesting season. Opening Day for the Yanks is on Monday, and I for one, can not wait to see what this new-look team has in store.