Diving into the depths: New York Yankees

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This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.
New York Yankees
Rotation
1. CC Sabathia
2. A.J. Burnett
3. Andy Pettitte
4. Javier Vazquez
5. Joba Chamberlain
6. Phil Hughes
7. Chad Gaudin
8. Sergio Mitre
9. Chan Ho Park
10. Alfredo Aceves
11. Zach McAllister
12. Kei Igawa
13. Dustin Moseley
14. Jason Hirsh
15. George Kontos
16. Ivan Nova
I think I’d rather see Hughes in the rotation if there’s only room for one, but Chamberlain appears to have the edge for the fifth spot at the start of camp. The loser in the competition will likely function as the team’s eighth-inning guy. The Yankees don’t intend to send either back to Triple-A to work as a starter.
Bullpen
1. Mariano Rivera
2. Phil Hughes/Joba Chamberlain
3. Damaso Marte
4. Chan Ho Park
5. David Robertson
6. Alfredo Aceves
7. Chad Gaudin
8. Edwar Ramirez
9. Boone Logan
10. Sergio Mitre
11. Jonathan Albaladejo
12. Mark Melancon
13. Dustin Moseley
14. Romulo Sanchez
15. Royce Ring
16. Kei Igawa
17. Kevin Whelan
18. Jason Hirsh
19. Christian Garcia
20. Zack Segovia
21. Wilkin De La Rosa
Park’s addition means another very qualified reliever is going to be left out on Opening Day. Gaudin is due $2.95 million this year, a salary that would seem to make him a lock. However, his contract isn’t guaranteed. Same goes for Mitre. Either could be cut or traded at the end of the spring.


Catcher
1. Jorge Posada
2. Francisco Cervelli
3. Mike Rivera
First base
1. Mark Teixeira
2. Nick Johnson
3. Juan Miranda
Second base
1. Robinson Cano
2. Ramiro Pena
3. Kevin Russo
4. Reegie Corona
Third base
1. Alex Rodriguez
2. Ramiro Pena
3. Kevin Russo
Shortstop
1. Derek Jeter
2. Ramiro Pena
3. Eduardo Nunez
Pena is currently set to occupy a utility role, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Yankees trade a reliever for a veteran backup late in the spring. Pena offers a lot defensively, but he’s far from an ideal option to play regularly in the event of an injury.
Left field
1. Brett Gardner
2. Randy Winn
3. Marcus Thames
4. Jamie Hoffmann
5. Reid Gorecki
Center field
1. Curtis Granderson
2. Brett Gardner
3. Randy Winn
4. Greg Golson
5. Reid Gorecki
Right field
1. Nick Swisher
2. Randy Winn
3. Marcus Thames
4. Jamie Hoffmann
5. David Winfree
Designated hitter
1. Nick Johnson
2. Marcus Thames
3. Jorge Posada
4. Alex Rodriguez
5. Nick Swisher
Hoffman, the first overall pick in the Rule 5 draft, seems like a big long shot to make the team now with Winn and Thames in camp. Thames makes plenty of sense as a left fielder and DH against lefties, though Winn still could end up as Gardner’s platoon partner. I imagine that manager Joe Girardi will just ride the hot hand between the three of them.

Bryce Harper to Little League players: “No participation trophies, first place only”

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Nationals’ star outfielder Bryce Harper had some words of advice for a local Little League team on Saturday, telling a crowd of young players and their parents that winning matters far more than any participation trophies they might receive for their efforts on the field.

“As much as they might tell you, ‘Oh, it’s okay, you guys lost…’ No, Johnny, no,” Harper explained. “No participation trophies, okay? First place only. Come on.”

The panic over participation trophy culture has swelled over the last few years as studies continue to suggest that children are happier when they’re praised for their accomplishments, rather than rewarded for simply trying their best. The general idea is that kids aren’t motivated to succeed when they know they’ll receive a ribbon or medal celebrating their efforts at the end of the day — regardless of whether they win or lose. (Granted, it stands to reason that every kid can feel the difference between winning a championship trophy and receiving a participation ribbon.) Some have taken the idea to an extreme, claiming that when a child receives too many accolades for mediocre or poor performances, it can warp the way they view the world by generating a sense of undeserved entitlement.

Harper kept his tone light during the Q&A session, however, drawing cheers and applause from the majority of parents and a few of the kids. The 2015 NL MVP has routinely taken his own advice over the years, earning Rookie of the Year honors, four All-Star nominations and a Silver Slugger award since he broke into the major leagues in 2012. Next on his list? A World Series championship.

Indians to move Danny Salazar to the bullpen

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MLB.com’s William Kosileski reports that Indians starter Danny Salazar is being moved to the bullpen and will be available as soon as Wednesday or Thursday. The Indians will go on a five-game road strip starting on June 2, and manager Terry Francona said that Salazar could get a start during that trip.

Salazar, 27, has struggled to a 5.50 ERA over his first 10 starts this season. While none of those starts were absolute disasters, he failed to finish the sixth inning in seven of those 10 starts. It’s a far cry from his performance over the last two seasons, when he finished with a 3.45 ERA and 3.87 ERA.

Salazar’s walk rate is up to a career-high 11.9 percent, per FanGraphs, and he’s allowing many more line drives at the expense of ground balls. Compared to 2016, his line drive rate is up 8.9 percent and his ground ball rate is down 10.4 percent. All of that could explain Salazar’s struggles to some extent.