Building the Yankees' 2014 Opening Day Roster

It's coming, you know - that day when people throughout the country and parts of Canada will rejoice - Opening Day 2014.

Unfortunately, it's still a long way off, but that does leave us plenty of time to argue and fight over exactly who will be on various teams' Opening Day rosters come April; given that this is a Yankees blog, we'll talk about the Yankees today.

Right now, in the aftermath of A-Rod's suspension, the Yankees Opening Day lineup could look something like this (barring injury, of course):

LF Brett Gardner

SS Derek Jeter

CF Jacoby Ellsbury

RF Carlos Beltran

1B Mark Teixeira

DH Alfonso Soriano

C Brian McCann

2B/3B Kelly Johnson

3B Eduardo Nunez/2B Brian Roberts

A significant improvement over last year's, don't you agree?

Of course the team would break camp with five starters, who at the moment I project to be CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova, David Phelps, and Michael Pineda, assuming Masahiro Tanaka signs elsewhere. Even with the addition of the Japanese star, this rotation is full of question marks - which CC are you getting? Will Kuroda's 2014 be how he ended 2013? Has Ivan Nova finally turned a corner? Is David Phelps truly a Major League starter? Does Pineda even play baseball?

That leaves the Yankees with 10 spots left to fill the bullpen and the bench. David Robertson is a lock to make the roster, if not close at this point, and Shawn Kelley and Preston Claiborne project to open the season in middle relief (whether they stay there is a different story). Matt Thornton will be the leftie out of the 'pen, and Adam Warren will return in long relief.

How the rest of the roster fills out depends on how many bench players the Yankees go with. At the moment, they have Francisco Cervelli backing up McCann, Ichiro Suzuki as the 4th OF, and Brendan Ryan backing up at short. Given that one member of the lineup listed above will always sit, giving the team four bench players, that might be enough; still, I'd project either OF Zoilo Almonte or 3B/RF Ronnier Mustelier to break camp with the team, to provide depth. My gut is that Mustelier is more likely, since if he performs well enough, he could take over at third.

That leaves one more spot, which would probably go to another reliever, either one they sign or somebody who played most of last year at AAA. Again, just going on my gut, I expect it to be LHP Cesar Cabral's job to lose - he performed well at both AAA and in limited time in the majors, and another leftie never hurts.

Still, that's just my opinion. I invite everybody who reads to make your voice heard in the comments below - there's plenty of time before even pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, plenty of time to argue!

FanPosts are user-created content and do not necessarily reflect the views of the writing staff of Pinstripe Alley or SB Nation.

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