Since the April schedule doesn't seem especially grueling (4 off-days, 9 home, 15 away) I figure the Yanks will carry 11 pitchers and 14 bats.
Posada, Molina, Tex, Cano, Jeter, Arod, Matsui, Damon, Swisher, Nady.
CC, AJ, CMW, Andy, Joba, Rivera, Marte, Bruney.
I figure Melky is the favorite as starter in CF because he's out of options. I'd be surprised if the Yanks bring BG north, too. That would be 5 OF (6 counting Matsui).
Following my gut, I pick Veras and Edwar to round out the bullpen with Aceves as long man. Phil Coke will be a starter in Scranton until he's needed or proves he can't handle it. Robertson, Melancon, Hughes, IPK, Humberto, and Jonny A. will all be waiting in the wings (though I'd still love to see Hughes in the pen until he's needed to swap places with Joba in the rotation).
Cody Ransom and Angel Berroa are in camp to "compete" for the position as backup infielder. If the Yanks take both to Camden Yard for Opening Day that brings us to 23 men.
With those two open spots in mind, I've been scrolling through MLBTR's free agent page, thinking about bats (and gloves) who might be worth a look on the verge of spring training.
Much, much more after the jump!
Catchers: I'm interested in guys who have the potential to fill in for Jorge on a more full time basis than Jose Molina seems ready to.
Paul LoDuca- After getting cut by the Nationals midseason, LoDuca caught on with the Marlins to close out the season. He could probably be brought on for a minor league deal with an opt-out date.
Johnny Estrada- Another Nationals cast-off and former Met, Estrada was cut and couldn't or didn't find another team to play for. He's about 4 years younger than LoDuca, but was worse the last time he was given full time duty.
Corner Infielders: These guys would be both an insurance policy and a bat off the bench. Not a hugely pressing need since Swisher could back up first.
Nomar Garciaparra- oft injured, but still a very good hitter. I'd sign him just to see all of the "Big Three" shortstops in pinstripes.
Rich Aurilia- he got 400 ABs with the Giants last season, so he's probably not willing to take a part time role. But his .280/.330/.415 line would be the best bench player the Yanks have had in a while. The former shortstop could also be pressed into duty in the middle infield in a pinch.
Middle Infielders: I went into this exercise thinking these guys were more insurance policy than pinch hitters, but it looks like they're the best infield bats left.
Ray Durham- I don't know if Durham has the arm to be a back up shortstop. He's in the mix with Aurilla as a nearly full-time player, but with a better bat: .289/.380/.430. If he signs with the Yanks, expect the Cano trade rumors to heat up again.
Damion Easley- less of a bat than Durham, but the former Met has shown the necessary defensive flexibility.
Jim Edmonds- I don't know that it's really worth considering the 39 year old one time defensive wizard. But of all the outfielders available, he's the only one capable of playing center field, so he's the only one worth even considering.
Rodrigo Lopez- Think of him as the 2009 Sidney Ponson. If he makes a start in the Bronx something has gone wrong.
Eric Gagne- The steroid user spends half a season in Boston, and the next season Jon Lester blossoms into the Red Sox's best pitcher. Maybe we should introduce him to Phil. /sarcasm (about Phil).
Kip Wells- another Ponson type, who could double as a long man.
Chad Cordero- currently recovering from a torn labrum, Cordero would be a great candidate for the Jon Lieber program: sign him to a two-year deal so he can take his time rehabbing. If he has it back for the stretch run of '09, great. If we don't see him until 2010, that's fine too.