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December 27, 2005

Setting up the roster
by SG

Well, there's not much activity in Yankee-land as we wait for the next 48 days to pass before pitchers and catchers report to spring training. It appears that the Yankees are basically done with adding players at this point, although I think they are still trying to find a corner OF that can play RF so they can DH Gary Sheffield more often.

Looking at the roster, We can probably get a decent sense of who will be on the team come April.

First, I'll look at the definites

Pitchers (11)
Shawn Chacon
Kyle Farnsworth
Randy Johnson
Mike Mussina
Mike Myers
Carl Pavano
Mariano Rivera
Tanyon Sturtze
Ron Villone
Chien-Ming Wang
Jaret Wright

Catchers (2)
Jorge Posada
Kelly Stinnett

Infielders (4)
Robinson Cano
Jason Giambi
Derek Jeter
Alex Rodriguez

Outfielders (4)
Johnny Damon
Hideki Matsui
Gary Sheffield
Bernie Williams

In addition to these 21 definites, there are the following players listed on the 40 man roster.

Pitchers (10)
Aaron Small
Matt Smith
Scott Proctor
Jeffrey Karstens
Sean Henn
Jason Anderson
T.J. Beam
Colter Bean
Jorge De Paula
Matt DeSalvo

Catchers (1)
Wil Nieves

Infielders (2)
Felix Escalona
Andy Phillips

Outfielders (4)
Melky Cabrera
Bubba Crosby
Kevin Reese
Kevin Thompson

I would like to see the Yankees carry an 11 man pitching staff, which would leave Aaron Small out. It would suck for Small, who at least deserves a chance to be on the big league roster, although expecting him to replicate this season's success would be a massive risk. Unfortunately for Small, Jaret Wright is due at least $11 million over the next two year. Regardless, I can't see the Yankees doing that, unless there's an injury that makes the decision for them, so they will probably at least start the year with a 12 man staff. I'm still holding out hope that they ship Carl Pavano out for the aforementioned corner OF, but that does not appear to be in the Yankees' plans.

Catching should be set with Posada and Stinnett, with Wil Nieves in Columbus in case of injury. I'd like to see the Yankees offer Miguel Olivo a contract if he'd be willing to play in Columbus for a year, but I'm sure he'll get a big league offer from someone to at least back up.

In the infield, the Yankees need at least a utility infielder and then a backup infielder. They are rumored to be signing Miguel Cairo, but nothing has transpired yet. It'll either be Cairo or possibly Felix Escalona. Unless they sign someone like Eduardo Perez then I'd guess that Andy Phillips will be the backup 1B. I'd like to see Phillips get a fair chance, although I'm not convinced how good he'll be.

Adding two more infielders gets the roster up to 23, which leaves the Yankees with two more spots to fill. Since Bubba Crosby is out of options, I'm sure he will get one of them, which is fine. Bernie Williams is the nominal 4th OF, but he'll probably be the primary DH unless they add a bat, and he really can't play the field well enough to be used to rest anyone regularly. From there the decision is to pursue one more OF, or else add Small. Pursuing another OF would seem to be the smart move, unless they feel that someone like Kevin Reese or Kevin Thompson could do the job, however I'm sure that they will instead add Aaron Small.

Worrying about this kind of roster stuff right now is kind of pointless since it all tends to work itself out, but I can't really think of anything else to write about right now.

And I have no political opinions that I care to share.