Your Opening Day Starter is…

Sorry CC, not this time…

The baseball season will soon be upon us.  The Yankees have yet to name their Opening Day starter, but I know who it should NOT be.  CC Sabathia.  I recognize that CC is viewed by others on the team as the leader of the pitching staff, but I have always believed that the Opening Day starter should be the guy who performed the best during the preceding year.  For me, there’s no question that the Opening Day starter should be Masahiro Tanaka.  He is also now the #1 starter on this staff.

I know that CC has held the role for a number of years, but it is time to pass the gauntlet.  There are still many questions if CC will ever be the pitcher he once was.  Tanaka should be the Opening Day starter for years to come if he keeps up his performance…and of course if the elbow ligament does not go out.

CC did nothing for the Yankees last year and he was the featured performer on the Disabled List for most of the year.  The Opening Day assignment should not be recognition for the sum total of years pitched, it should be about who is the best guy on the staff.  Right now, that guy is Tanaka.

Source:  Bleeding Yankee Blue blog

Conflicting objectives…

Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner talks about how the Yankees must win, but conversely, reaffirms that the Yankees want to get under the luxury tax threshold in two years.  The only way this is possible is through the attrition of expiring contracts, and replacement by young, cost-controlled players.  I am still not convinced the Yankees have the prospects at the upper level capable of placing the team at the footsteps of the World Series.  Sure, guys like Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, and Greg Bird have looked great this spring, but it will take more than that.  It’s sad that the Yankees have to pay $30 million per year to a guy who is slated for part-time DH and some back up third base.

I understand the need to control costs but there are other teams that have better farm systems and the willingness to pay for higher level talent, such as the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers.  I don’t think the Yankees will be able to close the gap by focusing solely on the reduction of total salaries.

I understand the Yankees do not have to spend $250 million in salaries to win.  The bad contracts on the team were necessary at the time they were signed.  It’s unfortunate the players were unable to sustain their level of play that justified the contracts, but that’s the risk of long-term deals.  Refusing to commit to future long term deals will only cause free agents to look elsewhere.

An argument can be made that if the Yankees really want to commit to youth, they need to get really bad to have a few years of high draft picks.  But that’s at odds with the Yankees ‘win-now’ mantra.

Admittedly, it feels like the Yankees are a long way from the opportunity to win their 28th World Championship.  I guess as a Minnesota Vikings fan, I should be used to years of no championships.  Maybe the Yankees struck gold with their low key off-season acquisitions (Nathan Eovaldi, Didi Gregorius et al).  But I still do not think the current roster construction is sufficient to overcome the better teams in the American League.

Backup catcher…

With spring training rapidly coming to a conclusion, the inevitable decision regarding Austin Romine will be made (since he is out of options).  Will he remain on the team with John Ryan Murphy headed to Scranton/Wilkes Barre or will he be headed elsewhere in a trade?  For years, he was labeled as the organization’s top catching prospect along with Jesus Montero.  Montero is now in Seattle and has already been sent down for minor league re-assignment.  There’s no way the Yankees can slip Romine through waivers without losing him, so D-Day will soon be upon us.  This is tough.  I like Romine and I’d like to see him stay in the organization, but conversely, I like Murphy.  Murphy probably brings more with the bat.  This is a tough call for the Yankees.  I honestly cannot say which path I would like to see the team pursue.  In the end, I am sure that GM Brian Cashman will make the right call.


#5 Starter…

My vote to replace the injured Chris Capuano is Adam Warren.  Nothing against Esmil Rogers, but I have more confidence in Warren.  I haven’t heard any updates regarding Ivan Nova but I am assuming that he’s still on target for a late May/early June return.  Not sure what we’ll get from Nova in his first year back from Tommy John surgery, but he’ll be a noticeable upgrade over whomever is filling the #5 spot.

Elsa/Getty Images North America

End of Winter…

Yesterday signaled the passage of Winter and the arrival of Spring.  Last year, living in Maryland, the end of Winter meant far more than it did this year living in Southern California.  But it does place us much closer to Opening Day and that’s a great thing.



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