New York Yankees position players report for physicals today, and the first full-squad workout of the 2011 Yankees Spring Training is set for Sunday. Here are three questions facing the Yankee position players as Spring Training gets into full swing.
1. What Will They Get From Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez? Maybe this is two questions, but we will deal with it as one. Jeter, of course, turns 37 this season and is coming off the worst offensive season of his 16-year career (.270, .340 OBP, .370 slugging percentage). Can he improve, or is 2010 productivity what the Yankees will have to live with from Jeter?
As for Rodriguez, he also hit .270 but did smash 30 home runs and drive in 125 runs in 137 games. How healthy can he stay as he turns 36 this season? His batting average and slugging percentage have declined significantly the past two seasons, from .302 and .573 in 2008 to .270 and .506 a season ago. Will the decline continue?
2. Who Will The Backup Infielders Be? The Yankees signed veterans Eric Chavez and Ronnie Belliard to compete with holdover Ramiro Pena and youngster Eduardo Nunez. If the Yankees keep two of them, who wins those jobs? My guess right now? Chavez if he is healthy because he can back up A-Rod, and Pena for his glove as the middle infield reserve.
3. Who Wins The Final Outfield Job? The Yankees are likely to keep five outfielders, and they signed Andruw Jones to be the fourth one behind Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner. Battling for the fifth slot will be Colin Curtis, Greg Golson, Justin Maxwell and Kevin Russo.