It’s exactly two weeks from today that pitchers, catchers and injured players report for Spring Training and the Yankees have been quite busy this offseason. They signed Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and the biggest prize of them all, Masahiro Tanaka. They appointed David Robertson the new closer, re-signed Derek Jeter for another year and took care of their arbitration cases. The Yankees handled of a lot this offseason, but there’s still work to be done. What are some things the Yankees can do as they prepare to head to Spring Training on February 14th?
1. Add to the bullpen: Unless you plan on making Preston Claiborne, Shawn Kelley and David Robertson pitch every single night, a three man bullpen is not going to work. What was once their strength is now their main weakness. The Yankees could consider signing another reliever, or they could go take a look at some of the Triple-A guys, hoping one of them can make the ball club with a good spring.
2. Find a backup first basemen: As of right now, it seems the Yankees are heavily relying on Mark Teixeira to stay healthy and play majority of the season at first base. But what if Teixeira isn’t healthy by the time Opening Day rolls around? The Yankees don’t have a first basemen ready in the farm system and they certainly don’t have a legit backup first basemen on the bench. Do the Yankees trade for one or do they sign one from the free agent market? So many questions, so little answers.
3. Be realistic about second base: Whoever you put at second base this season isn’t going to be Robinson Cano. They’re not going to hit 30 home runs every year and they’re not going to drive in 100 runs. Luckily, the Yankees have other power sources so second base might not be a major issue. But if the Yankees give the every day second base job to Brian Roberts, can they really expect him to be healthy all throughout 2014? He has a long list of injuries, which was what drew up a warning flag for me when I heard the Yankees signed him. Brian Roberts is the Travis Hafner signing, Part 2: if he’s healthy, he’ll be very good for your ball club. If he’s injured all the time, you’ll rarely see him and he’ll take up space on the DL.
4. Find a platoon at third base for Kelly Johnson: Let’s be realistic here, Kelly Johnson cannot play all 162 games at third base. It’s possible the Yankees can find someone to platoon Johnson within the organization, but it’s also possible they might have to look elsewhere if none of the talent can impress the coaching staff. They’re not going to have Alex Rodriguez (which was possibly a blessing in disguise since they had enough money to sign Tanaka), but third base is going to be another huge question mark as the team prepares for the season.