Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Brian Cashman pretty much said it best Tuesday after Masahiro Tanaka's introductory press conference in New York, calling the Yankees' third base situation heading into spring training “Kelly Johnson and a cast of characters.”

Well, he's certainly not wrong. In fact, “Kelly Johnson and a cast of characters" is exactly how I would describe the third base situation.

The Yankees signed Johnson a couple of days before Robinson Cano left the Bronx and signed his monster contract with the Seattle Mariners, and though it seemed like he would come into came looking to win the newly vacated starting second base job, Johnson appears to be the frontrunner to be the starting third baseman on Opening Day for the Yankees.

Johnson won't being much with his glove, or hit for a high batting average, but he is capable of playing third base everyday, while also giving the Yankees some power from the left side.

Ideally, you'd like to have someone with better fielding glove, and it's possible that the Yankees could keep someone in the roster that can also play third -- like Scott Sizemore, Eduardo Nunez or Dean Anna -- and platoon him with Johnson.

I think that this will be Johnson's job to lose at this point, with there really being no other options, I also believe that Sizemore could be in the best position to win a bench spot as the backup at third base.

Sizemore is still trying to work his way back after tearing his ACL twice in the last 24 months, and if he's able to come back at full-strength, he can actually be a useful player for the Yanks off of the bench.

Like a lot of the player infielders trying to win roster spots, Sizemore can play multiple positions, with most of his time having been spent at third and second base. While I think that he can also compete for the second base job, we'll most likely see him spending his spring at third base while the Yankees try to find the best possible fit there.

Too many people, in my opinion, believe Eduardo Nunez should be given a real chance to win the job. While I wouldn't completely write him off yet, I really don't think that Nunez can win the starting job. He would need to have a pretty good spring in order to even get a spot on the Opening Day roster.

I won't deny that fact that Nunez is talented and has the ability to play very well, but he makes too many mistakes that make you overlook his real capabilities.

He had a great chance to make a name for himself last year when he started the season as the Yankees' starting shortstop while Derek Jeter was working back from his ankle injury. But Nunez when on the DL in May with a rib injury and stayed on the shelf until July. He went on a pretty decent run after returning, but there still doesn't seem to be too much confidence in him as the spring begins.

Unless the Yankees suddenly sign Stephen Drew, this is going to be the group fighting to replace Alex Rodriguez while he serves his season-long suspension. It's not going to be the most entertaining competition to watch, but it's going to be one you'll need to keep an eye on.


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

1 comment:

  1. I must disagree Gavin,
    Nunez did very well at 3rd base last year...comparatively speaking...he also brings a good right handed bat to the game. He is an athlete, as was Bernie, he will steal bases and score from 1st on a double, also has some pop in his bat...which we know we need with all the left handed bats in the line-up! Put him at one spot and let him show he can do it well. He seems to be a slow learner, so let him learn!