With just weeks to go until Opening Day, the Yankees have a lot of decisions to make when it comes to their roster.
In addition to position battles in left field and shortstop, the team had a number of injuries to key players. Carlos Rodon And Harrison Bader will miss the opening day, and while they are likely to return sooner rather than later, their spots will need to be filled by players who may have had a different role or failed to make it out of camp.
The depth of the Yankees’ organization will be tested early on, but if they can ride out this string of injuries, they should be looking forward to a deep playoff run. And unless GM Brian Cashman made a move, which I don’t see happening, they will have to start April with the players they have in their organization.
Position the players
Anthony Rizzo, 1B
Gleyber Torres/DJ LeMahieu, 2B
Oswald Peraza, SS
Josh Donaldson, 3B
Oswaldo Cabrera, RF
Aaron Hicks, LF
Aaron Judge, FC
Jose Trevino, C.
Giancarlo Stanton, DH
The Yankees entered the spring with a holeshot left, and with Bader falling, they also need to fill center field.
Director Aaron Boon already look from within to try to find an answer. Judge and Stanton took reps in the corners, and Boone also tried out Cabrera in various positions in the outfield. But Judge seems like a better option in the middle until Bader can come back. The reigning AL MVP played 78 games at center last season and can do it again.
It also gives Boone the option to play Stanton instead of Cabrera in right field on certain days.
Looking for outfield options, Boone will even try Isiah Kiner-Falefa In the center. While the IKF at center is highly unlikely, it does give a clue as to how the Yankees feel about their shortstop position.
IKF lost his job at the end of last season, and while he could still earn it this spring, his on-set productivity hasn’t helped his cause. Peraza seems like the safest bet to be the opening day shortstop, as he has some major league experience and has been solid this spring.
But where does that leave Antoine Volpe? Oh, we’ll join him.
Gerrit Cole, RHP
Nestor Cortes, LHP
Luis Severino, HRP
German Domingo, RHP
Clarke Schmidt, RHP
There was a battle for fifth starting place this spring between German and Schmidt with Frankie Montas out for a while. But now that Rodon will be on the IL to start the season, there are two open spots and both pitchers deserve to be on the roster.
Hopefully the depth of rotation holds until the Yankees’ biggest acquisition returns in mid-April.
Jonathan Loaisiga, RHP
Clay Holmes, RHP
Wandy Peralta, LHP
Ron Marinaccio, RHP
Matt Krook, LHP
Greg Weissert, HRP
Michael King, RHP
Trivino (elbow strain) and Kahnle (biceps tendinitis) will also start the regular season on the IL, leaving more holes in the Yankees’ roster. Matt Crook has been solid this spring, allowing just three earned runs in almost eight innings of work. He’s also a southpaw, which can give Peralta a reprieve in the bullpen against other southpaws. Might as well have another southpaw until Rodon comes back.
I’ve had eight relievers in my last two predictions, but with the uncertainty in the outfield, I think an extra bench player would be best until reinforcements arrive.
Kyle Higashioka, C
Isiah Kiner-Falefa, INF
Gleyber Torres/DJ LeMahieu, INF
Anthony Volpe, INF
Willie Calhoun, DE
And this is where things get spicy. As you can see, I believe Volpe makes the list. Yes, he won’t be the opening day shortstop, but he can be on the bench roster.
The 21-year-old has proven he can hold his own this spring — slashing .321/.424/1.103 with two home runs and three stolen bases on March 14 — and deserves a spot. He can learn from the big leaguers. And if Peraza falters a bit, Volpe can see bats. It also has the speed to be an endgame, pinch runner, and effect plays that way.
Willie Calhoun, the 28-year-old outfielder has played very well this spring, and the Yankees could benefit from his veteran presence. Calhoun has power potential and having a southpaw on the bench could benefit the team.
While Jason Dominguez opened his eyes a lot this spring, he still needs time in the minors before taking the plunge.
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