Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I never thought I would have to say this, but the Yankees will be holding auditions this spring to find a starting baseman for the first time in a long time. Sadly, the list of candidates are not great, and if it hasn't already sunk in, we're not going to see anyone putting up Robinson Cano-type numbers at second base this season.

Unless the Yankees add another infielder, via a sign or trade, they'll come into camp with five players that I see have the best chances to win the job.

Right now, those five players are Brian Roberts, Kelly Johnson, Dean Anna, Corban Joseph and Scott Sizemore, with Roberts being the favorite.

A lot like the battle for the fifth starter job, you would think that whoever wins the job is playing well enough to keep it once the season gets going. But even though I think that Roberts will be the second base job, that doesn't mean he will go unchallenged.

It probably won't be from Johnson, who is expected to handle most of the third base duties for the Yankees this season. Joseph is still young, and has room to grow. He can be a decent second baseman down the road, but he's better off in the minors to start the year. And though Sizemore is capable of playing the position, I think that most of his spring will be spent at third base, too.

Anna, though, is the real sleeper in all of this. He is the player that you'll want to watch for this spring.

Why Anna? The 26-year-old spent last season with Triple-A Tucson in the Padres organization, where he hit .331 with 90 runs, 38 doubles, 9 homeruns and 73 RBIs in 132 games. He saw time at second base, shortstop, third base and in left field.

Being an above-average left-handed hitter with the ability to play around the diamond gives him a very good chance to make the Yankees' 25-man roster out of Spring Training.

When making the case for Roberts, you can count the fact that he's a former all-star second baseman. If he can just stay healthy -- and that is a major "if" -than he can be pretty good player for the Yankees, both in the field and at the plate. But I wouldn't get my hopes up over a guy that has barely seen the field in the last three years.

We could also have situation in which both Roberts and Anna are on the team, splitting time at second base. That is a situation that could help Roberts stay healthy. Actually, any situation where Roberts doesn't have to be in the lineup everyday is probably good for him.

Either way, no matter how you see things, this will certainly be one of the most interesting out of the five position battles to watch this spring. Life without Cano officially begins next week when the full squad starts practicing.


Gavin Ewbank is the Lead Writer of Yanks Beat Blog, and you can follow him on Twitter (HERE).


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