Monday, February 27, 2017


(Credit: AP / Matt Rourke)
We've only seen three exhibition games but three Yankees are already making headlines defending on what job they should have for the team and why. It's been a long time since the Yankees have had this many choices to make. It's going to be a battle....which of these guys will win?

During the off season Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman have talked about breaking up Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner at the top of the order. If they do it, last season hints that Gardner would be favored to remain at the top of the order while Ellsbury may be the odd man out. Ellsbury missed the first three days of camp due to the birth of his daughter, Crew. Since coming back he has been asked by reporters how he would feel about being "demoted" in the batting order.

Ellsbury is sticking with the cliche "whatever helps the team" answer and would do that but "would like to talk to Girardi about it first." For now he isn't going to worry about the "what if" scenario and that after they talk about it they will "go from there" read more on that HERE. Nobody likes to be demoted, and Ellsbury may or may not be frustrated by it but at least he is trying to say all of the right things. He has been the primary lead off hitter for most of his time with the Yankees, but he has also hit in the third spot in his first year with us and has also hit ninth when he played for Boston. His less than stellar numbers are no surprise as to why the Yankees would want to drop him in the order, but would they go so far as to bat him ninth? Would that be a better way to go, and would he really be okay with that? We'll see how the Yankees play this one out.

On the other hand, the Yankees have two pitchers that are competing for a spot on the stating rotation and are not being shy about what they want. They don't have the "whatever helps the team" opinion, they don't want to be relievers, they want a starting gig and aren't being shy about it!

It was nice to see a good spring debut from Luis Severino. He knows he needs to make people forget about his 0-8 and 8.50 ERA from last season, somehow. The Yankees have talked about sending him back down to Triple-A if needed to start the season but with a redefined confidence in his change up he says he wants to start again, read that HERE. It may have taken him too long to figure out that he needs more than two pitches to be a successful major league pitcher. He says he listened to Larry Rothschild and he will throw it now.....but is it too late? The Yankees have other young kids that may make it very hard to say no to them. Has he missed his opportunity? He threw two good innings against the Blue Jays on Sunday but that doesn't mean he has mastered a change up? Can he do it consistently and pitch his way back into the rotation? This is only the beginning if he wants that to happen.

Then there is Adam Warren. I can't help but feel a little bad for the guy. He can be a starter, or a reliever but since he may be more valuable to the Yankees as the guy who could be the long reliever he may not get the job he wants. He's not  mincing words, he wants to be a starter. Warren was a starter for the Yankees back in 2015 and he did well. The problem is he is flexible, and he adds even more value to the Yankees as a reliever. He understands both roles and it's clear now that he believes his versatility may put him at a disadvantage. He wants to start, and you can't blame him for that.

Girardi already said that Warren has a spot on this team. He's the only one of the five competing that is guaranteed a job. It's not a matter of if, but where. Everyone else can go down to Triple-A and fill in spots down there but can Warren do accomplish his goal and prove once and for all that he is capable of starting or will he versatility ultimately hurt him? Can he pitch well enough to make the Yankees give him the job he wants and fill in the bullpen instead?

This is a good reminder that this Spring Training is not just about the kids who are fighting their way onto the team. This is also about the guys who are fighting for a job or position that they want instead of what the team feels is most beneficial. This is the most exciting Spring we've seen in a long time, and I can't wait to see what happens!

I'm rooting for all of these guys. They are all going to have to battle. Who comes out on top?

--Jeana Bellezza
BYB Managing Editor
Follow me on Twitter: @NYPrincessJ

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