Spring training comes to a close after the Yankees' game tomorrow, and Joe Girardi will have likely already made his final decisions on who will be making the trip to Houston with the team. A vast majority of the players who started out with a chance to make the team out of camp have been cut, but Brendan Ryan's injury opened a door for one of the infielders to sneak onto the roster. Who has done enough after four weeks of spring training to earn a spot on the 25-man roster on Opening Day?
As always, here is the legend we used:
Keep in mind that all spring training players are not created equal. Some can bat 1.000 and still won't have a spot on the team while another could pick up one hit before the team heads north and would still have a spot on the Opening Day roster. The reality of each player's situation is taken into consideration in their ranking.
The backup catcher job has rightfully been rewarded to Francisco Cervelli after an extremely strong showing in camp this spring. Unless there is a last minute trade, of course, which has foiled Cervelli before. The difference is that a trade at this point would likely send him to another team in need of a catcher instead of to Triple-A for the season in favor of Chris Stewart. Austin Romine and John Ryan Murphy could also find themselves traded, seeing as right now the plan is for them to split time at catcher for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. The Yankees would probably prefer for them to play every day, which could lead them to pulling the trigger on a trade that would free up the necessary space for that to happen.
Ichiro Suzuki, for better or worse, is going to make the roster as the team's fourth/fifth outfielder. The veteran has been the topic of numerous trade rumors this offseason, all of them focused around the fact that the Yankees would be willing to eat some of the outfielder's salary in order to move him. Zoilo Almonte and Adonis Garcia each had highly impressive spring performances, but it's unlikely that any sort of spring training results could give them the spot over Ichiro. The Yankees will have to hope that he provides value as a defensive replacement or pinch runner until/unless they can find a team in need of an overpaid, over the hill outfielder.
The infield is where hope remains for those left in camp. Brendan Ryan opening the year on the disabled list means that there are one or two spots available, depending on how you view the status of Eduardo Nunez. If you think that Nunez is guaranteed a spot, and he probably is, then one of Yangervis Solarte, Dean Anna, and Zelous Wheeler is going to make the team. Anna's 40-man roster spot means that it will probably be him. The Yankees could always pull off a bold move and DFA Nunez to take Solarte, who has been a revelation this spring, but the team seems to have an inexplicable affection for Nunez that its fans just don't share. That being the case, it seems likely that Nunez and Anna will be given the two bench spots as backup infielders. Unfortunately for Solarte, that means that his impressive spring training results meant very little. It's tough luck for the guys who struggle to make an impression, only to lose out to the team's pet that really hasn't done much to deserve the status.
Do you see anyway that the team lets Nunez go before they head to Houston? Will the Yankees find a way to trade Ichiro at some point before the trade deadline?