Saturday, March 18, 2017

Here’s my roll of the dice…

2017 Opening Day Roster Prediction…

Since everyone seems to be coming out with their Opening Day roster predictions, I may as well jump in.  My choices are probably not too much different than the ones provided by Daniel Burch a few days ago.  With all sincerity, I am glad that I am not Joe Girardi.  It's challenging to make the call with a few players.  Girardi has some very difficult decisions ahead, followed by tough conversations with adversely impacted players.

Here are my picks:

Starting Line-up
C: Gary Sanchez
1B: Greg Bird
2B: Starlin Castro
SS: Didi Gregorius
3B: Chase Headley
LF: Brett Gardner
CF: Jacoby Ellsbury
RF: Aaron Judge
DH: Matt Holliday

1B: Chris Carter
OF: Aaron Hicks
UTILITY: Ronald Torreyes
C: Austin Romine

Starting Rotation
1-RHP: Masahiro Tanaka
2-RHP: Michael Pineda
3-LHP: CC Sabathia
4-RHP: Luis Severino
5-LHP: Bryan Mitchell

LHP: Tommy Layne
RHP: Ben Heller
RHP: Chad Green
RHP: Adam Warren
RHP: Tyler Clippard
RHP: Dellin Betances-Setup/Backup Closer
LHP: Aroldis Chapman-Closer

I decided against Jon Niese.  Nothing against him personally, but the Yankees would have to open a spot on the 40-man roster for him.  I feel that both Ben Heller and Chad Green have pitched effectively this spring and are deserving of the opportunity to head north with the big league club.  Either Adam Warren or Chad Green can fill the spot starter role.  I think that once Ernesto Frieri is ready (assuming that he proves he belongs back in the majors after a lost year), he'll come up to replace either Heller or Green.  So, with my roster, there's no room for Niese.  

I felt Jordan Montgomery was destined for reassignment to minor league camp but after his contribution in Friday’s no-hitter win over the Detroit Tigers, he has probably re-inserted his name into the OD roster discussion.  If, somehow, Montgomery makes the final cut, I  anticipate Chad Green being sent down.  I feel Montgomery needs to start so I could see Mitchell moved out the #5 spot to make room.  This will be an interesting development to watch over camp’s final weeks.

There are a few players above that I would absolutely love to kick to the curb.  If I had $90 million to burn, Jacoby Ellsbury would be anyplace but the Bronx.  I am ready for Chase Headley to go too.  But the time is not right for either to leave so we'll just have to deal with it and hope for the best.

I had really hoped that reliever Jonathan Holder would snag a spot but it doesn't appear he is quite ready.  Lefty Chasen Shreve was another that I hoped would up his A game, but he hasn't looked too great this spring in limited opportunities although he was part of yesterday’s no-hitter.

I am also disappointed that Rob Refsnyder is not in the picture.  It's too bad that he didn't grow up playing the infield as a kid.  With better defensive skills, there's no doubt that he would have supplanted Ronald Torreyes on the roster.  

The above roster assumes that the Yankees do not make any trades or other moves between now and Opening Day.  It's possible that Refsnyder and others could be moved but I am not expecting any blockbuster deals at the moment.  Jose, can you see?  Sorry, I'll let it go...

I don't think any of the roster predictions that I've seen are wrong.  The Yankees are very fortunate to have more than 25 guys deserving of a major league roster spot.  It certainly beats the alternative.

The latest Yankee to head to minor league camp for re-assignment is SS/2B Jorge Mateo.  

Have a great Saturday!  I have a date with my Harley…

This Day in New York Yankees History 3/18: Virginia Tech Heals

On this day in 2008 the "Evil Empire" attempted to help with the healing process on the campus of Virginia Tech University after 32 students and staff became victims of a shooting spree the previous April. The Yankees played the Hokies at Virginia Tech's English Field and George Steinbrenner donated $1 million to a memorial fund while also making arrangements for his team to participate in the exhibition. The ESPN Red Sox did nothing.

Also on this day in 1943 the New York Yankees, and five other teams, had to open spring training camps in northern locations. The Yankees opened up camp in Asbury Park, New Jersey.

Finally on this day in 1937 Lou Gehrig ended his holdout after agreeing to a one year deal worth $36,000 with a $750 signing bonus. Gehrig had originally asked New York for $50,000. The deal still made the Yankees first basemen and last season's American League MVP the highest paid player in all of baseball.