The day is finally here. After a long 3 and a half months, Pitchers and Catchers report to Spring Training. Ahh yes, the bountiful day is here where the sun shines warm upon Tampa, Florida and the clacking of metal spikes hits the dugout floor. As Opening Day approaches, let's take a look at a position by position breakdown of the 2012 New York Yankees.
Not many additions to speak of except for Hiroki Kuroda and Micheal Pineda who both ended up in the South Bronx in January. The rotation looks pretty solid with Phil Hughes most likely beating out Freddy Garcia for the final spot but as saw last year, with Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia making the team and eventually the rotation anything can happen before that first game begins. Also, as everyone knows the rotation will be without A.J. Burnett, (thankfully) as he was sent to the Pittsburgh Pirates yesterday. The bullpen should be a major factor this year in how the team performs, as last year's pen had its share of troubles. Until the non-roster invitees are added and maybe some free agent relievers are signed, the bullpen looks basically the same as last season.
With the retirement of Jorge Posada, a leader on the Yankees team for the past 16 season, and the loss of Jesus Montero to Seattle the Yankees catching corps looks a little different than years past. Russell Martin though should be the starting catcher when Opening Day begins and he is a solid game-caller behind the plate and can also hit for contact, but he did only bat .237 last season. Backing him up, should be Francisco Cervelli who almost fell off of the Yankee map a bit last season. Only playing in 43 games last year, as a backup to Russel Martin and missing some time early on in the season with a broken foot, Cervelli managed a .266 average at the dish, with 33 hits in 43 games. The last of the catching trio is touted prospect, Austin Romine. Romine only appeared in 9 games last year, late in the season but performed well in Double and Triple-A to catch the eyes of many in the Yankees front office.
The solid infield of Jeter, A-Rod, Texiera, and Cano is back for their 4th season together in pinstripes. Though, not one of them won a Gold Glove for last season's efforts, the infield performed very well, especially Robinson Cano and Mark Texiera. It was also argued by some that Texiera should have beat out Adrian Gonzalez of the Red Sox for the first base Gold Glove. Utility-men Ramiro Pena and Eduardo Nunez are also back this season in the Big Apple after performing solidly as back-ups.
Another solid core of Yankee players anchor the outfield, lead by Curtis Granderson. Curtis batted .262 last year, with 41 Home Runs, and 119 RBI's. He was also the anchor of a very solid Yankees outfield and led the team with his spectacular plays in Centerfield. Nick Swisher on the other hand has been a curious case. There is the movie, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", well in Yankee land it has been "The Curious Case of Nick Swisher". Since coming to the Bombers, Swish has put up solid numbers but just hasn't been able to perform in the post season. If he doesn't perform to expectations this year, it may be his last in pinstripes. That is a sad thing to say considering Nick Swisher is a fan favorite and one of the most lovable players on the team. Let's all just hope things work out for him this season. The last of the starting outfielders is Brett Gardner. He has always been a good outfielder since being called up in 2008 and hasn't been bad at the plate either. He batted a respectable .259 last season but his defensive performance is what keeps him the starting nine. The remaining outfielders are Andruw Jones, a former star outfielder in Atlanta and concrete outfielder in the Bronx, and Chris Dickerson, who appeared in 60 games last season as a back-up left-fielder to Brett Gardner.
Overall, the team looks good once again to me and should be towards the top of the American league and they may just win their 18th AL East Title this season. I guess time will tell. As always GO YANKEES!