Can everybody tell that I've run out of things to write about? I'm as giddy as a schoolgirl about the regular season starting in 5 days from a fan perspective, but from a blogging perspective those 5 days are going to be hell. I've got nothing right now. Nothing. I need the regular season to start simply to give me some fresh topics and stats that actually matter. That said, here are some of the random Yankee-centric thoughts that are rattling around in my head. Let's muse. - Preston Claiborne, your Spring Training. Woof! He's gone from being named by Joe as an unofficial part of 'pen before the start of ST to an afterthought in the competition over the last month and he almost assuredly sealed his Triple-A or DFA fate with yesterday's dumpster fire of an outing. 4 hits, 1 walk, 6 ER, not a single out recorded. I can't help but think I might have jinxed the guy with my post about his future potential last month. Sorry, Preston. That one's on me, buddy.
- The talk about the early season schedule has focused almost exclusively on the rotation and how the Yankees are going to need their 5th starter right away and won't have any chances to skip or rest guys for those first 2 weeks. To me, the bigger issue is how Joe handles resting his position players in those first 13 games. The everyday grind of the regular season is much more intense than ST, and guys like Jeter, Teix, Beltran, McCann, Roberts, and maybe even Soriano are going to need some days off and DH days mixed in right off the bat. With a scheduled off day here or there it makes managing that workload much easier. Joe won't have that luxury to open the season and I hope he's got something in mind.
- Speaking of Joe having a plan in mind, I'm also curious to see how long he sticks with Derek Jeter in the 2-spot of the lineup. Jeter has looked bad at the plate this spring, real bad. He's earned the right to not have his ST performance nitpicked and questioned, so I'm willing to wait and see how he does before really pushing for a change. But if the overabundance of weak groundouts continues and Jeter isn't getting on base, how much time does Joe give him? If Brett Gardner is raking in the 9-hole and Jeter is a black hole at the top, will that speed up the timeline for Joe to make a change?
- Good for Francisco Cervelli for officially winning the backup catcher job yesterday. Biogenesis stuff aside, the guy has had a pretty rough go these last few years and there was a time in 2012 where it looked like he could end up being released or stuck in a life of Triple-A purgatory. Now he's healthy, he's looked fantastic all spring, and dare I say he's become a little bit underrated as a player. Look around MLB right now and tell me how many backup catchers you would want over Cervelli. Not many.
- Assuming his oblique heals in a reasonable amount of time and he can get back on a mound, Jose Ramirez will be in the Major League bullpen by July. Book it.
- As for the season-opening bullpen, I think Dellin Betances has locked himself into 1 of the 2 remaining spots and I could see him settling into the setup role for D-Rob sooner rather than later if Kelley falters. With Claiborne bombing out, I think the final spot will go to Matt Daley. He's pitched well all spring, he's a veteran with MLB experience, and the Yanks have gone out of their way to keep him around. He gets the nod to start the year with Cesar Cabral on injury replacement standby.
- While we're on the topic of roster spots, I think it's going to be Eduardo Nunez and Dean Anna for the bench IF spots with Ryan starting on the DL. Scott Sizemore just hasn't gotten enough reps to show he's fully recovered from his ACL injuries and there's no sense in making a 40-man move to add Yangervis Solarte if the Yankees don't have to. They can stash him in Triple-A as additional injury insurance. That gives them a bench of Cervelli, Nunez, Anna, and Ichiro. I've seen better, that's all I'll say.
- He doesn't appear to have much of a shot to steal that 5th OF spot, unless Cash is able to find a taker for Ichiro, but Zoilo Almonte has had himself a nice little spring. 13-36, 5 XBH, 7 R scored, and a .361/.410/.556 tripleslash. I'd love nothing more than to see him rake in SWB to start the year and put more pressure on the Yanks to dump Ichiro.
- Quick final word on the new stadium amenities that were announced yesterday, specifically the food. Not sure how it would translate to stadium food, but I would absolutely crush the chicken and waffles cart and the taco/empanada one. Chicken and waffles all day every day. Not a big fan of the Papa John's pizza sponsorship deal though. Papa John's blows. If I make it back to The Stadium this year and I see somebody eating a Papa John's pizza with a look of enjoyment on his or her face, I'm Dikembe Mutumbo'ing out of their hands with the quickness.
5 days, people. Only 5 more days. Can't wait...