In the grand scheme of things Brian Cashman has done a solid job this offseason. He as assembled what should be a very formidable Yankee roster for the 2012 season. There has been some debate over the left handed DH spot or how the Pineda/Montero trade will look a few years down the road, but overall there has not been much for Yankees fans to quibble over. With yesterday's Eric Chavez signing the Yankees have, by all accounts, locked up their opening day roster with the exception of one bullpen spot.
The starting lineup will most likely consist of Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher, Andruw Jones (LHP), Raul Ibanez (RHP), Russell Martin and Brett Gardner. The role of the backups will be played by Francisco Cervelli, Eduardo Nunez, Eric Chavez and Jones/Ibanez. The rotation will be made up of CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova and either Hughes or Garcia, with the loser presumably going to the bullpen. In addition to the loser of the 5th spot in the rotation, Girardi will have Cory Wade, Boone Logan, Rafael Soriano, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera to work with in the bullpen. That leaves one spot remaining for the likes of Cesar Cabral, Clay Rapada, Mike O'Connor, D.J. Mitchell, David Phelps, Brad Meyers, George Kontos, Matt Daley, Adam Miller or Manny Delcarmen.
The only real issue I have with Cashman's off-season has been the signing of Eric Chavez to a major league deal. The signing of Chavez seemed all but done after Burnett was shipped off to Pittsburgh. So I began to poke around (thanks to Twitter) to try and find out why? The consensus from the guys that cover the Yankees was that they like his defense and that he is a solid clubhouse guy. I agree that both are solid reasons, especially on a veteran club that really does not have any pressing offensive needs. Provided he is able to stay healthy, Eric Chavez is a fine bench player. My main issue with all of this is the major league deal. You can get me to believe that there was competition for Raul Ibanez therefore they needed to give him a major league deal, but competition for Chavez? It would take a lot of convincing for me to believe that one. Chances are good that Chavez would have eventually beat out the likes of Bill Hall or Brandon Laird anyway. What I am saying is that by signing him to a major league deal the Yankees have eliminated any competition that a minor league deal would have created. At the time I was not completely sold on the 2011 strategy of signing a bunch of veteran arms to battle it out for the remaining spots in the starting rotation but it seemed to bring out the best in all of the players involved. In my opinion competition is a healthy part of the game and it pushes players to strive to be better and avoid complacency. All in all the Chavez deal is certainly not worth getting worked up about, just a matter of preference.