Tuesday Afternoon Food For Thought: Looking Way Ahead To The 2015 Roster

This season is all but over and everybody's attention is justifiably shifting to the upcoming offseason and the resulting 2015 season.  I've noticed an uptick in the comment sections recently on 2015 roster ideas, and I thought it would be a good idea to construct a logical starting point for any offseason strategy discussions.  Here's what the 2015 Opening Day roster would look like if it was comprised only of players who would be definitely be on the 40-man roster or still with the organization next year. C- Brian McCann 1B- Mark Teixeira 2B- Martin Prado SS- Brendan Ryan 3B- Alex Rodriguez LF- Brett Gardner CF- Jacoby Ellsbury RF- Ramon Flores DH- Carlos Beltran

SP- Masahiro Tanaka SP- Michael Pineda SP- CC Sabathia SP- David Phelps SP- Shane Greene

BP- Dellin Betances, Shawn Kelley, Adam Warren, Preston Claiborne, Bryan MitchellJose Ramirez, Manny Banuelos

Bench- John Ryan Murphy, Jose Pirela, Zelous Wheeler, Zoilo Almonte (or Slade Heathcott)

Based on that, you can see how much work Cash has to do this offseason.  The roster as constructed would not be particularly deep anywhere and serves as a perfect representation of the Yankees' flawed roster building strategy over the past 5-ish years.  Too many big contracts for old guys on the decline and not enough good talent being generated from within to make up for said decline.

The rotation depth is still a strength, with the 5 tentative starters plus Mitchell and ManBan on standby and Ivan Nova finishing up his rehab from TJS.  Bullpen depth is also a plus.  Guys like Phelps and Greene are candidates to get bumped down to make room for FA rotation signings and Chase Whitley will still be around.

The bench is a fallout zone though.  The outfield really is in general.  Beltran is going to spend the bulk of his time at DH next season and the Yankees don't have any other Major League talent in-house to take over the everyday right field job.  They also don't have 1 proven MLB-caliber backup infielder, and the depth at shortstop is almost non-existent.

It's not a pretty picture and there are a lot of areas that need to be improved to get it looking prettier.  The Yankees are almost worse off heading into this offseason than they were heading into last offseason, and that offseason ended with a half-billion dollars spent.