Saturday, March 5, 2011

Yankee Catching Situation Becoming More Clear

One of the biggest competition storylines coming into Spring Training was the 2 Yankee catcher spots on the 25-man and who was going to end up with them.  Before ST, the Yankees made it seem like it was Jesus Montero's job to lose, then they added Russell Martin and named  him the starter, forcing Montero into a competition with Cervelli for the backup spot, a competition that was leaning in Frankie's favor thanks to his experience.  Now with what's happened over the last week, some good and some bad, the picture is starting to come into focus.

Martin- He beat the odds that I set and managed to stay healthy behind the plate last night in his first game catching of ST.  He caught well, didn't leave with an injury, and all indications this morning are that he feels good and will be ready to catch again tomorrow.  As long as the Yankees monitor his innings and his health as he tries to get back to 100%, Martin will be the starting catcher out of camp.

Cervelli- That foul ball off his foot earlier in the week turned out to be more serious than everyone initially thought, and yesterday it was announced that Frankie has a broken foot, effectively taking him out of the competition for the backup role and forcing him to Triple-A for a rehab assignment whenever he does get healthy.  While we all know what Cervelli is as a player, it still sucks to see him lose what probably would have been a sure roster spot because of something out his control.  3rd time in the last 4 years that he has suffered some sort of injury in ST.  Maybe the guy should just stay away in the future.

Montero- If the season started tomorrow, The Jesus would be the backup to Martin and the buzz about him would continue to grow heading into the start of the regular season.  So far this spring Montero has shown flashes of the powerful bat he possesses, and has held his own behind the dish, throwing a few runners out and getting good reviews from Yankee pitchers about his receiving skills, something that was the biggest knock on him.  Montero has done everything asked of him, and with Cervelli out of the picture he becomes the best option.  At 21 he's a big part of the Yankees future and it looks like that future is going to start now.

Austin Romine- Probably won't get a spot on the 25-man out of camp, but he has also impressed coaches, and Joe has not ruled him out as an option for the backup role, citing his own history as a player who made the jump from Double-A to the Majors.  Romine receives a bit better than Jesus, but doesn't have the spark in his bat to put up numbers any greater than Cervelli would.  At best, he bumps up to Triple-A to start the season, at worst he's back in Double-A when everything shakes, neither of which are really bad options for him.

Jorge Posada- He's still lurking as an emergency if the Yankees experience any more injury bad luck with Martin, Montero, or Romine, but they are staying committed to keeping him at DH, and it's the right move to make.  Let him catch a few side sessions here and there in camp to get pitchers some work, but nobody wants Jorge behind the plate catching whole games and getting beaten up.  If something happens where it comes to that, the Yankees should look to the trade market to build depth rather than risk Jorge's health early in the season.