Pre-Spring Training Surpise: 2012 New York Yankees 25 Man Roster Almost Fully Set

Could Russell Branyan make the team?

Normally teams take Spring Training in its entirety to come up with the group of players they want to carry for the upcoming season, but the Yankees have assembled their roster in a different way this season. They assembled it essentially as early and as easily as possible.

The way I look at it, if no injuries occur (a BIG if) the Yankees have almost all of their players figured out. Let's take a look:

C- Russell Martin, Francisco Cervelli (or Austin Romine!, but very unlikely Romine! wins that battle)

1B- Mark Teixeira

2B- Robinson Cano

3B- Alex Rodriguez, Eric Chavez

SS- Derek Jeter, Eduardo Nunez

OF- Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher, Raul Ibanez, Andruw Jones

SP- CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, Phil Hughes/Freddy Garcia

RP- Phil Hughes/Freddy Garcia, Boone Logan, Cory Wade, Rafael Soriano, David Robertson, Mariano Rivera

That's 24 out of the 25 players. The only players with the potential to not make the team at all of those 24 are Eric Chavez, who is only making $900 K so he is cuttable, Eduardo Nunez, who would have to have a disastrous spring, and to a much less likely extent, Phil Hughes or Cory Wade.

13 hitters and 11 pitchers are listed above, so follow me after the jump for the options for the 25th roster spot, in order of how likely I see them making the team.

Cesar Cabral- The Yankees drafted Cabral, a lefty relief pitcher, in the Rule V draft, so if he does not make the team Cabral will have to be returned to the Boston Red Sox.

Clay Rapada- Another lefty reliever, Rapada absolutely dominates lefty hitters. The Yankees are known to want to lefty relievers for the season, so if Cabral doesn't make it Rapada very likely could.

Russell Branyan- Many will argue that Branyan's chances of making the team were destroyed when Eric Chavez was signed, but I'm not giving up on the Branyan bandwagon yet. Branyan can backup Mark Teixeira at first, and if necessary play third base and the corner outfield spots.

Brad Meyers- Meyers is a right handed pitcher that was selected in the Rule V draft along with Cabral. His chances are diminished because of the hand he uses to pitch with, but scouts seem impressed by Meyers, so the Yankees will take a very close look at him.

Manny Delcarmen- A non-roster invitee that has the potential to be the Luis Ayala of the 2012 Yankees. We shall see.

Chris Dickerson- It's not likely that the Yankees carry a sixth outfielder, but if they do I'd guess Dickerson has a leg up on Justin Maxwell.

Justin Maxwell- See Dickerson.

Brandon Laird/Ramiro Pena/Bill Hall/Jayson Nix- If Eduardo Nunez doesn't make the team, one of these three likely will.

Michael O'Connor- Another lefty reliever, seems to be blocked by Cabral and Rapada.

Kevin Whelan- Though the Yankees never seemed to be too impressed by Whelan, if he can get some control he has filthy stuff.

Matt Daley/Adam Miller- Not likely, but you never know.

Gustavo Molina/David Phelps/Adam Warren- Injuries would have to occur for these players to make the team.

Thoughts?

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