Monday, February 17, 2014

Position Players Report Date Prepper 2014: The Infield

(Teix in the cage.  Courtesy of Andrew Marchand)

Pitchers and catchers are in camp and working out, and some of their position player teammates are already on site starting their spring work but not the full complement.  Wednesday is the official report date for the rest of the position players who were invited to Spring Training, so in keeping with the theme from last week's "Report Date Prepper" series, let's delve deeper into the 2 remaining roster groups that will be arriving and participating in team workout activities in the next 48ish hours.  We'll start with the infield today.

P.S.- if you missed any of last week's posts, here they are.  Starters, Relievers, Catchers.

Honest Post-Offseason Roster Evaluation: The Infield

(Courtesy of the AP)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

Pitchers and catchers reported to Yankee camp on Friday, and they began team workouts over the weekend.  In 2 days, the remainder of the position players not already in camp will report and the first full team workout will be held on Thursday, signaling the official start to Spring Training 2014 and the end of the 2013-2014 offseason.  This offseason was a very busy one for the Yankees, one that featured a ton of signings and the most money spent since the 2008-2009 offseason.  After a flawed attempt to trim payroll in preparation for a luxury tax-avoiding season this year, the front office scrapped the plan and got back to what they do best, spending big to address the greatest areas of need on the roster.

Over the next 5 days, I'm going to look back at the offseason that was and try to give a realistic, objective evaluation of how each part of the roster stacks up.  I'll start with the position player groups (infield, outfield, bench) and then move to the pitching staff.  This isn't an attempt to predict what could, should, or will happen, just a snapshot of the roster as it is right now, for better or worse.  For all the moves the Yankees made and all the upgrades they made to key roster areas, I think we all know they're still far from a perfect team and aren't exactly back to that leading championship contender status they strive for.  To kick off this series, let's take a gander at the starting infield.

On CC's Weight

(Courtesy of Deadspin)

Last week this picture of CC Sabathia at a Knicks game made its way around the interwebs and naturally people started talking about it.  Sabathia's weight has been an increasingly popular topic of conversation over the last few years, as he's made more of an effort before seasons to drop a few pounds and then usually ended up putting them back on by the end of the year.  This offseason Sabathia made a concerted effort to not only lose weight but tighten up the rest of his body, and this picture provided some insight as to how much those efforts worked, as did his ST weigh-in result of 275 pounds over the weekend.

The major loss in poundage and somewhat gaunt appearance in that picture have caused a bit of a stir in the NY sports world and parts of the Yankosphere.  The feeling has apparently shifted from "good for CC for trying to lose some weight" to "jeez, look at how much weight he's lost!  That can't be good" and for the life of me I can't figure out why.  Yes, that picture does make CC look like a combination of Forrest Whitaker and E.T. when he get sick and pale and Elliot finds him lying by the river, but it's just 1 picture.  The shots of him in camp show that he's still a big dude, and even if he wasn't that's no reason to speak or think negatively about his attempts to get into better shape.

Spring Training News And Notes: 2/16/14

(D-Rob fielding his position.  Courtesy of the AP)

Another day, another round of bullpen sessions.  Yesterday it was the relievers' turn to take the hill.  Here we go:

- David Robertson, Shawn Kelley, and Matt Thornton highlighted the bullpen groups with their first sessions of the spring.  Manny Banuelos, Cesar Cabral, and Mark Montgomery were the notable young guys working as well.

- Joe talked down the possibility of ManBan pitching himself into contention for the 5th starter spot, but did leave the option open to take him as a reliever.

- Peter O'Brien put on a show during batting practice, smoking some deep home runs to center and left field.

- Mark Teixeira talked to the media again and said he plans on getting 50+ at-bats in during ST despite starting his hitting and in-game schedule later than everybody else.

- The Yanks released their full list of guest instructors.  Some of the usual suspects were there (Gossage, Guidry, Reggie), along with newer guys like Hideki Matsui and Jorge Posada.