(Where does this new guy fit in? Courtesy of the AP)
After all the hard work I put into my first shot at ranking the contenders for the final 4 roster spots earlier this week, the Yankees had to go and screw it all up by signing more guys. I'd be a little more upset, both personally and semi-professionally, if those players weren't potential upgrades over most of the others in contention. But since they were, I guess I can get over it and move on with an updated list. The 2 newest players added to the mix have a leg up on their competition by having more Major League experience under their belt, but I wouldn't quite say they are shoo-ins given their age and individual shortcomings as defensively useless players and injury risks.
So here's take 2 of my pre-ST rankings for the final 4 roster spots:
** UPDATE 3:21 PM- Canzler has been DFA'd to open a spot on the 40-man for Travis Hafner. I'd say he's not a sure bet to clear waivers. **
1) Eduardo Nunez- He would really have to be awful in the field to not get the utility IF job.
2) Travis Hafner- He's all but guaranteed a spot when the signing becomes official, but I'm putting him on here just because he could get hurt and not be ready for the start of the season.
3) Juan Rivera- The Yankees loooooove them some veterans, and Rivera has the "former Yankee" factor working to his advantage.
4) Russ Canzler- Too much power and positional flexibility to ignore, and a more balanced right-handed bat than Melky.
5) Dan Johnson- Relegated to Hafner insurance duty.
6) Jayson Nix- Still on Nunez life raft duty.
7) Melky Mesa- Would have to show greatly improved plate discipline and pitch recognition skills to beat out Canzler.
8) Matt Diaz- Probably needs to cycle onto HGH now to have any chance.