Yesterday, Moshe posted 25 questions/issues going into Spring Training. Tackling them one-by-one in full posts would take way too long, so I’m going to give some quick hit answers to each one.
1. Jorge’s decline: Steve’s got legit concerns about Jorge declining, and if there’s anyone on the Yankees who’s going to decline, it’s likely to be Jorge. The average projection for Jorge doesn’t seem too ominous, but you never know with older catchers. My guess? Jorge doesn’t fall off a cliff, but he’s not as productive with the bat as he was last year.
2. The back up catcher: barring injury, I think this job is Cervelli’s to lose. His bat is iffy, but it’s okay for a back up catcher and his defense is solid.
3. The Jesus and 2010/catching: If we see El Carpentiero at all in ’10, it’ll likely be as a September call up. As for whether he can handle catching, I’m cautiously optimistic. Regardless, that bat is downright dreamy and I want it sticking around in the Yankee organization for years to come.
4. Nick Johnson: Like with Hideki Matsui in ’09, keeping Johnson off the field could be the key to keeping him healthy. If he does stay healthy, I think he could at the very least come close to matching Hideki/Johnny Damon, he’ll just do it in different ways. His power should bounce back by being in YSIII and I’d expect his HR/FB anomaly from 2009 to correct itself as well.
5. Cano’s defense: I think he’ll stay where he is, which is frustrating ’cause he’s brilliant out there at times.
6. Jeter’s contract situation as a potential distraction: I don’t think it will be an issue until after the ASB.
7. A-Rod’s defense: I think we’ll see the second half A-Rod on defense–still below average with the range (but what an arm!), but not as bad as he was immediately after returning.
8. Utility role: I say Pena, unless Russo really wows everyone in ST.
9. Which Swish: It may not be an exact copy, but I’d put good money on the ’10 Swisher looking a lot like the ’09 Swisher.
10. Grandy vs. lefties: Hopefully, Kevin Long can work some magic. And, yes, moving to YSIII will definitely help C-Grand.
11. Gardner as an everyday player: I’m cautiously optimistic for Gardner, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on this issue.
12. Randy Winn’s possible decline: 2009 looks like one of two outliers in the last 8 seasons, 2006 was the other. If he can bounce back, great. If not, it’s not a huge sunken cost and he’s replaceable.
13. Gardy or Grandy in CF: I’ll be happy either way, but the numbers point to Gardner in CF.
14. Hoffmann or Thames: I think they’ll go with Hoffmann, just to see what he’s got unless Thames absolutely destroys the Grapefruit League.
15. October hangover for SPs: It’s possible, but they’re veterans who know how to manage their bodies. Hopefully, there are no ill effects.
16. Javy as unclutch: I see good things for Javy this time around.
17. A.J.’s health: Burnett will pitch at least 185 innings in 2010.
18. 5th starter: I’ve written more than once about this. Joba it shall be.
19. BP or SWB: See above.
20. Damaso: He won’t be as lights out in the playoffs, but he’ll be his usual lefty destroying self since he’ll finally be healthy for a full year.
21. Second lefty: I don’t think a second lefty is a must, but I think General Joe likes the idea of having two lefties, so I think they’ll at least start off the year w/2 LHRPs.
22. If not, who gets the job: No thinking, gut reaction, Melancon.
23. Mo and…aging…: I’ll defer to Chris Turk for the answer.
24. Girardi’s lack of job security: The only way it becomes an issue is if Joe really screws up this year, which won’t happen.
25. Room in the budget if needed: They’ll find it.
So, there you have it: 25 quick answers to 25 complex questions. Before you know it, it’ll be November and we’ll be looking back on these (hopefully after a 28th championship) issues and their outcomes. Here’s to hoping they all turn out the way we want them to.