With most of the country going through a “polar vortex” the likes of which the country hasn’t seen in years, why not talk about something involving warm weather? That’s right kids, baseball. We are inching ever so close to pitchers and catchers reporting with a little over a month to go. The New York Yankees need to take care of a few things beforehand though.
Starter (or two): We all know the big prize at the end of the starting pitching rainbow is Masahiro Tanaka, though we probably won’t get any clarity to that situation for another three to three and a half weeks. There’s also Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana and others that we have looked at on this very space. The Yankees have to end up with one or possibly two of these pitchers going into the 2014 campaign.
Bullpen: Is David Robertson the closer or isn’t he? If he isn’t then Grant Balfour needs to be added. If he is, then a guy like Andrew Bailey or Joel Hanrahan (once he throws for teams) or another low-cost, high reward guy should be added for depth.
Outfield: The starting outfield is pretty well set with Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran. Alfonso Soriano will the DH. It’s either Ichiro Suzuki or Vernon Wells for the other bench spot. Wells will cost $1 million, so the Yankees could easily just cut him. Could they trade Ichiro for pitching depth? Would some team bite on that?
A-Rod: The elephant in the room is the Alex Rodriguez situation, though we should get some clarity on that soon, possibly even this Friday. The Yankees still are short a backup plan behind him. I’ve talked about Mark Reynolds before, but that ship may have already sailed.
The Yankees have done a lot of work and have spent a lot of money improving the squad. There’s still a lot of work to be done between now and Valentine’s Day.