Thursday, March 28, 2013

Trimming the Roster

Juan Rivera is the latest Yankee to get cut just four days before Opening Day. The problem with Rivera, aside from the Yankees owing him a contract bonus if they had to keep him past today, is that there is no room for Rivera to play. He began Spring Training in the outfield shortly after Granderson's injury. However, after Mark Teixeira went down the Yankees tried him at first and it did not go well for Rivera defensively. Despite having good numbers at the plate, the Yankees needed Rivera to play solid first base, which is something he was incapable of doing.

After dealing for Vernon Wells and signing Lyle Overbay to try out for the first base job, there was no reason to keep Rivera on the squad. Although Overbay is a downgrade at the plate over Rivera, Overbay is one of the better defensive first basemen in baseball. The Yankees would rather have a defensive guru at first base that saves errors for other infielders than having a player who only was capable of playing on one side of the ball. Thus signaled the end of Juan Rivera's Yankee career-- for now.

With Opening Day four days away, the Yankees have made most of their decisions. Both, Ivan Nova and David Phelps will begin the year in the rotation while Hughes is on the disabled list with a bulging disc. Nunez will be the Yankees Opening Day shortstop while Derek Jeter is rehabbing his ankle. Finally, the Yankees will likely settle with Kevin Youkilis at first base and Jayson Nix at third against lefties, while having Overbay play first with Youkilis at third against righties.

The Opening Day lineup will likely look like this:

Brett Gardner CF
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Kevin Youkilis 1B
Travis Hafner DH
Vernon Wells LF
Jayson Nix 3B
Eduardo Nunez SS
Chris Stewart/Francisco Cervelli C

SP: LHP CC Sabathia vs. LHP Jon Lester

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