When the Yankees broke camp in Spring Training, everyone was healthy and ready to prepare for another season of baseball. There wasn’t much question about the Yankees depth and the Yankees figured they could plug some holes should one or two injuries arise. We’re two months into the season, and the Yankees depth is now in question due to some big time injuries to the ball club. Let’s take a look at some of the injuries the Yankees have and what they’ve done to fill the gap so far.
Starting Rotation: The Yankees starting rotation was supposed to be their strong point. CC Sabathia was supposed to have a bounce back season, Michael Pineda was supposed to be the Yankees next big superstar and Ivan Nova was supposed to build on his on his 2013 season. However, 60% of the rotation is missing and it’s a big question on when they’ll get their players back. Ivan Nova is done for the year, Michael Pineda just had a setback and CC Sabathia will be out until July. In the meantime, the Yankees placed Chase Whitley, David Phelps and Vidal Nuno in the rotation, but there’s depth issues already. Chase Whitley wasn’t a starter in the minor leagues, which means he’s not stretched out enough to give you six to seven innings and Vidal Nuno seems to be more of a bullpen pitcher, not to mention his pitches aren’t overpowering. David Phelps is versatile, meaning he fits almost anywhere and he’s currently been the Yankees best replacement in the rotation so far.
First Base: Mark Teixeira has returned from season ending wrist surgery, but even he has faced some set-backs, prompting him to miss some time with a sore right wrist. What depth options do the Yankees have to replace the Gold Glove first basemen when he suffers a setback? So far they’ve placed Kelly Johnson, Brendan Ryan, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann in Teixeira’s spot at one point of the season. Now, here’s the problem with the depth at first base: none of the players I listed are legitimate first basemen. Kelly Johnson is more of a third basemen, Brian McCann is a catcher, Brendan Ryan is a utility infielder and Carlos Beltran plays in the outfield. The fact the Yankees are asking Brian McCann out of all players to play first base for a game tells that the team doesn’t have a first basemen that’s ready right now in the minor league system. They could sign a rental in case Teixeira suffers another setback (maybe Kendrys Morales?) but the fact that the Yankees don’t have a true backup to Tex is extremely troubling.
Right Field: Carlos Beltran was one of the riskiest signings in the offseason. The Yankees knew about his injury history but they took the gamble on him. Little did they know, a month into the season, Beltran would injure his elbow and would be placed on the disabled list. In the meantime, the Yankees have used Ichiro Suzuki and Alfonso Soriano to replace Beltran but the production isn’t the same. Ichiro has been hitting for the Yankees and that’s fine, but he’s not a power or RBI hitter. It doesn’t hurt to mention Ichiro’s older than Beltran and needs more days off in order for him to stay fresh. Alfonso Soriano has been a strikeout machine and his defense has been questionable. The Yankees did bring up Zoilo Almonte, but he hasn’t seen much playing time, which puts the Yankees in a tough position. Ichiro should be on the field but not every day, Soriano needs a mental breather and Almonte needs to see some playing time on the days Ichiro doesn’t play. Right Field isn’t much of a depth issue–it’s just a matter of questioning Joe Girardi‘s decision on who he’s playing on a daily basis.