Handicapping Yankees' most heated position battles entering spring training

Championship Series - New York Yankees v Houston Astros - Game One
Championship Series - New York Yankees v Houston Astros - Game One / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages
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Yankees Left Field Battle: Aaron Hicks vs. Oswaldo Cabrera vs. The Field

Edge: Hicks (But Keep Your Eyes on Rafael Ortega)

The Yankees have made it clear that Aaron Hicks, even after a brutal 2022 season that messed with his head and ended with his benching at home, will have a leg up entering the competition. The team loves Oswaldo Cabrera's bat, but doesn't want to neuter his effectiveness by anchoring him to a position he's not accustomed to.

That said, team insiders from Michael Kay on down seem to believe the eventual left fielder isn't on the roster yet. Ian Happ? Bryan Reynolds? Max Kepler, who'll probably bust out in Minnesota and cost the Yankees more at the deadline than they would've paid in January? Because that always happens? The winner of this spring's battle isn't supposed to be on the field for the season's most important games. While it's encouraging the Yankees have a grand plan, it doesn't feel great that their goal is to be worse in April than they will be in August.

Keep watch on Rafael Ortega, too, only one year removed from a 121 OPS+ campaign in 2021 with the Cubs. Left-handed bat, too.