Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Yankees gearing up for first exhibition on Friday

The New York Yankees were going about their business without much distraction.  Then Saturday

came with full squads reporting but it was all about Dellin Betances.  What happened you might ask,

well the Yankees and Betances had an arbitration hearing on Friday and the Yankees won.  There

were some hard feelings from that as would be expected because it is an unpleasant situation. 

Betances was willing to move on though and forget about but then Randy Levine the Yankees

president opened his mouth on Saturday and a storm ensued.  Betances spoke out about it and

wasn’t very happy.  I thought he handled it well but you could tell he was hurt and this may hurt the

Yankees going forward.  Right now I think it isn’t a big deal but when Betances becomes a free agent

it could become one. 

Nick Swisher and Alex Rodriguez are with the Yankees as guest instructors.  Arod is still being paid 21 million

this year by the Yankees and has a larger role with the organization with Hal Steinbrenner willing to expand it

even more.  Swisher got there over the weekend and Rodriguez this morning.  Arod will be there this week

and then back again in a couple of weeks for a second tour of duty.  During the year the role is still yet to be
determined but I am sure we will be hearing more about it as we go along in spring training. 

So far everything is going pretty smooth down in Tampa.  Greg Bird has been looking good as he looks to knock off the rust and prove that he can play every day.  Aaron Judge is a work in progress but the Yankees still have high hopes for him.  Gary Sanchez continues to look like he did last year in the majors.  The shortstop talent is overwhelming with Didi the current SS, Gleybor Torres the new stud prospect and Jorge Mateo still a top prospect right now.  It looks like the Yankees are going to try and turn Mateo into a CF, Torres probably second or maybe third and keep Didi where he is.  Can you imagine next ear or the year after.  The Yankees could have Sanchez behind the plate, Bird at first, Torres at second, Didi at short, Castro at third.  Frazier, Mateo and Judge in the OF.  They will be a really good young team with a lot of pitching coming as well. 

It will be interesting this spring to see how the competition for the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation play out.  The Yankees did sign lefty veteran Jon Niese to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training.  They are saying he is competing for a bullpen spot.  The interesting thing is the two or three guys who don’t get into the rotation could be in the bullpen and could be used as longer inning reliever out of the pen.  It will be fascinating to see that unfold. 

The first base competition was going to be interesting but it should be Bird seeing the majority of the time and Chris Carter starting against lefties.  Judge appears to be the favorite in right field but Aaron Hicks is still there as well competing.  Another story line to watch is will the Yankees break up Gardner and Ellsbury in the lineup.  It sounds like they will as the Yankees keep talking about it but when the games start on Friday let’s see what he does with the lineups.  In the beginning it will be harder to tell as not all the starters will be playing but usually in the home games most of them will at least start.  Also Ellsbury is the only player not to report as his wife is due to have a baby any day and maybe even any minute now.  He may be delayed at least at the start of exhibition games but he should be ready for the start of the season. 

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