It has been less than a week since spring training games started for the Yankees, but we're already getting a clearer picture of the players who might have the inside track to making the Opening Day roster. There aren't a whole lot of spots up for grabs, like usual, but a few players will have a chance to play their way onto the team.
Joe Girardi said Sunday that the final spot on the roster would go to someone who could play third base. That makes sense because Chase Headley cannot play every day. Alex Rodriguez is no longer an option for the hot corner and Starlin Castro is needed for second base. No other infielder on the roster has experience at third.
Rob Refsnyder, Donovan Solano, Ronald Torreyes, and Jonathan Diaz are the players in camp being given a shot at the job out of spring training. Refsnyder at third is an experiment that is just getting started, but he did look promising there in his first crack at it on Sunday. Hopefully that continues, because he is clearly the best offensive option to carry into the regular season.
Although it seemed like Carlos Corporan might be given a chance to win the backup catcher job with his previous MLB experience and extremely low spring training number, it looks like that won't be the case. Girardi mentioned that the job would go to either Gary Sanchez or Austin Romine. Romine has hit well to this point in spring training and the team is obviously high on Sanchez.
Sanchez can be safely stored at Triple-A in case of an emergency, whereas Romine would need to pass through waivers (again) for the team to retain his services. It's obvious that Sanchez would be the better option for offensive purposes, but will sitting him on the big league bench five or six days per week keep him from continuing to develop?
The good news is that neither the backup catcher nor the 25th man on roster will likely make or break the team. The Yankees can make a decision that fans don't agree with, but there's little way they can go truly wrong here. Most people are probably pulling for Refsnyder and Sanchez to make the team because they provide the most upside and entertainment.
Refsnyder seems like he is taking being shuffled around in stride. It cannot be easy to go from outfielder to second baseman to third baseman, but Refsnyder has the attitude that he's willing to play anywhere to make the team. That's certainly encouraging from a guy who has hit very well and hasn't been given a ton of opportunities to show for it.
Who do you think the team will ultimately take for the backup third base and catcher jobs? Will they turn to experience or upside in their decision?