Almost every blog in SB Nation has come out with a roster prediction so far, so I figured I would take a crack at it. Obviously there must be twenty five players, and some are more obvious than others. Let's take a look.
Catcher - Russell Martin
First Base - Mark Teixeira
Second Base - Robinson Cano
Third Base - Alex Rodriguez
Shortstop - Derek Jeter
Outfield - Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher, Andruw Jones
DH - Jorge Posada
Starting Pitchers - CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett, Ivan Nova
Relief Pitchers - Mariano Rivera, Rafael Soriano, Pedro Feliciano, Boone Logan, David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain
That makes twenty. Ivan Nova is included as a definite for various reasons. Brian Cashman said he was a part of the rotation yesterday, and whether or not Pettitte signs only determines if he is the fourth or fifth starter.
After the jump is the rest of the rosterProbables: Francisco Cervelli, Sergio Mitre
That makes twenty-two. It would shock me if Cervelli is not on the opening day roster, as Jesus Montero is not going to be a backup, and the Yankees don't have many other options. Anything is possible, however, as the Yankees almost traded Cervelli for Russell Martin earlier this off-season.
Mitre is a probable because he has a major league contract and the Yankees are infatuated with his wonderful ability to not be named Chad Gaudin.
Three spots left, two for utility, and one for the rotation/bullpen.
For utility, the choices are between:
Possibilities: Ramiro Pena, Eduardo Nunez, Brandon Laird, Jordan Parraz, Greg Golson, Colin Curtis, and Kevin Russo.
Out of those, I am going to predict that Ramiro Pena and Greg Golson make the team. The reason I am predicting Pena over Nunez is because the Yankees think more of Nunez and wouldn't want him rotting on the bench. He can receive playing time in AAA, and if the Yankees feel they need him over Pena at some point in the season they can call him up.
The reason the Yankees will choose Golson is because the team always loves to have a speedster off the bench, and he can also provide a defensive replacement.
For the rotation spot/bullpen spot, the possibilities are: Andy Pettitte, Romulo Sanchez, Mark Prior, Robert Fish, Brian Schlitter, Daniel Turpen, Hector Noesi, Ryan Pope, David Phelps, and the killer B's.
If Andy Pettitte returns, he obviously gets the 25th spot. If not, it wouldn't surprise me if the Yankees sign a stop gap starter, or trade for one. If that doesn't happen, either Mitre or one of the above will make the team.
Assuming Pettitte does not return and the Yankees do not sign anyone, my 25th player roster prediction is Romulo Sanchez. People forget he started for part of last season, and if not he can relieve with the worst possible scenario (Mitre) starting. While I would love to see Phelps, Noesi, or another youngster make the team, Sanchez has no options left and it is a more likely scenario.
Quick recap, here are the twenty five players: Russell Martin, Francisco Cervelli, Jorge Posada, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Ramiro Pena, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher, Andruw Jones, Greg Golson, CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett, Ivan Nova, Sergio Mitre, Romulo Sanchez, Boone Logan, Pedro Feliciano, Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson, Rafael Soriano, and Mariano Rivera.
Who do you think will make the roster?