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Feb 172010

With spring training now approaching, we can start to get get a feel for the answers and solutions to the questions facing the Yankees in 2010. Although this club is probably as strong as last year’s championship team, there are still plenty of issues that they will need to resolve on their way to a successful title defense. Here is my annual list of the top 25 questions facing the Yankees going into 2010, with last year’s list available here.

1) Steve, among others, has suggested on a number of occasions that Jorge Posada is likely to show signs of decline this season. Will that come true? Even if he does not decline in terms of skill, will he be able to stay healthy?

2) Who will be the backup catcher? Is the job being handed to Frankie Cervelli, or can somebody like Mike Rivera steal the spot?

3) Will Jesus Montero force his way onto the roster at some point? Can he handle catching?

4) Will Nick Johnson be able to stay healthy? Will his power return due to the inviting right field porch? Or will the Yankees miss Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui?

5) Can Robinson Cano improve defensively, or is he nothing better than a slightly below average fielder?

6) Will Derek Jeter’s contract situation become a distraction for the club, particularly if Jeter is slumping?

7) Will A-Rod be able to recapture his former mobility? If not, can he adjust and remain a solid defender?

8 ) Who will win the utility role and spell A-Rod every so often? Pena? Russo?

9) Which Nick Swisher will show up in 2010? Will it be the 2009 version or the 2008 iteration?

10) Will Curtis Granderson find a way to turn around his poor numbers against lefties? Will moving to a lefty friendly park help him?

11) Can Brett Gardner hit well enough to justify an everyday job?

12) If not, the Yankees will be depending on Randy Winn. Was 2009 the start of a steep decline, or can Winn return to his past solid performance?

13) If Gardner wins an OF job, who plays center field, Gardner or Granderson?

14) Who wins the final OF spot, Marcus Thames or Jamie Hoffmann? Do the Yankees go with speed and athleticism in Hoffmann, or lefty mashing in Thames?

15) Will the starters show any after effects of pitching deep into October last season?

16) Can Javier Vazquez reverse his reputation for being unclutch?

17) Can AJ Burnett remain healthy and effective, or was last season simply lucky?

18) Who is the 5th starter? Joba? Hughes? Gaudin? Mitre? Aceves?

19) What happens to Joba or Hughes if they do not make the rotation? Is AAA an option, or are they ticketed for the bullpen?

20) What can the Yankees expect from Damaso Marte? Will he sustain his playoff performance?

21) Will the Yankees carry a second lefty? Are the option (Logan, Ring, De La Rosa) too poor to do so?

22) If not, who wins that final job? Melancon? Sanchez?

23) Will Mariano Rivera ever age? Am I really asking this?

24) Will Joe Girardi’s unsettled contract situation create a distraction for the club? How will Joe handle his lack of security?

25) If the Yankees need help during the season, is there room in the budget for an upper echelon player?

4 Responses to “25 Issues For Spring Training”

  1. Moshe, you have a lot of questions listed there…all of which need to be answered, hopefully in ST.
    2) Cervelli will be the back-up catcher.
    3) No, Monterro will not come up this year…except for after the AAA play-offs.
    4) Nick will be ok this year (optimist, I am).
    5) I think Cano will improve a bit this year…not a lot but, enough.
    6) No!
    7) Yes he can! He is a very hard working super athlete.
    8) Pena, they like his glove and has shown not to be over matched and he’s on the 40 man.
    9) I think it will be a new version, the 2010 better version.
    10) I don’t know much about him.
    11) Yes!
    12) No need for us to depend on him
    13) Gardner
    14) Jamie Hoffmann…unless they can work something out in an inexpensive trade.
    15) No. 16) Yes. 17) Yes.
    18) Joba, 4 pitches is a good place to start.
    19) Bull Pen.
    20) I think he showed what the Yanks thought they were getting and he is healthy.
    21) No.
    22) Either one is ok with me.
    23) He already has, his cutter has less movement and the velocity is less (90/92). He still has the C&C to get the job done.
    24) Joe knows if he does a good job, he is coming back.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  2. How did that smiley face show up? What did I do, I don’t know how to do those things.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  3. With your permission, Moshe, I’d like to offer my own little list for your consideration:

    27 Reasons Why 2010 Will Be the 28th Year The Yankees Win The World Series

    1923, 1927, 1928, 1932, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1941, 1943, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1961, 1962, 1977, 1978, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2009!!!

    God but it’s great to be in Yankee Universe! For even more Yankee fun, check out the satirical music comedy vid “Joe’s Job – The Ballad of Terry Francona” at

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvVZQnELQ9s

    It’s a must-see for Yankee and Red Suks fans alike! Go Bombers! 28 in 2010!!!  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  4. 1.Posada has already declined behind the plate.
    2.Cervelli of course.
    3.montero will never be a catcher, too many good defensive catchers in the organization but I do see him playing in Yankee Stadium late summer/early fall.
    4.Nick will have a huge season, stay healthy and hit 20 dingers.
    5.I think Cano is far from ordinary at 2nd base.Erratic on occasion but has a great arm and makes plays look easy that aren’t.
    6.No
    7.Yes he will.
    8.I think Russo has to get a chance or be traded.
    9. Swisher is a mental case and needs competition but he can hit and should again.
    10.Granderson has hit lefties in the past and will again.I expect a higher than expected average and 25 HR’s, not 40.
    11. Yes, with that speed if he hits a clitch .260 he’s fine.
    12.Gardner will get it done.
    13.Gardner is clearly the better CF’er and Granderson better than Damon in LF too.

    14. I’m too tired to finish! LOL.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

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