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
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.
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.

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
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.

There’s no one to blame in Yankees’ loss

Joe Girardi

You’re going to boo All-Star Brett Gardner for striking out against a Cy Young contender?

You’re going to bash Alex Rodriguez for going hitless in another postseason game, three years after his last one?

Maybe you’d prefer to put it all on Masahiro Tanaka for giving up two solo homers to a lineup full of 20-homer guys?

The truth is that the Yankees were supposed to lose tonight. They were facing an outstanding left-hander with their forever-lefty-heavy lineup, and they simply didn’t have anyone pitching like an ace to set themselves up nicely for a one-game, winner-take-all showdown. The 3-0 result… well, that’s how this was supposed to go down.

It didn’t necessarily mean it would; what fun would it be if the better team always won? And the Astros might not even be a better team than the Yankees. However, the Astros with Dallas Keuchel on the mound were certainly a better team than the Yankees with whoever they picked to throw.

I just don’t see where it’s worth putting any blame tonight. Joe Girardi? He could have started John Ryan Murphy over Brian McCann against the tough lefty, but he wasn’t willing to risk Tanaka losing his comfort zone by using a backup catcher.

The front office could have added more talent, perhaps outbidding the Blue Jays for David Price or the Royals for Johnny Cueto, and set themselves up better for the postseason. However, that would have cost them Luis Severino and/or Greg Bird, both of whom went on to play key roles as the Yankees secured the wild card. Would it really have been worth it? I don’t think so.

Tanaka gave the Yankees what they should have expected. Had Keuchel’s stuff been a little off on short rest, Tanaka’s performance would have kept the Yankees in the game.

Keuchel, though, was on his game from the first pitch. The Astros bullpen might have been a bit more vulnerable, and late at-bats from Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Rodriguez and McCann definitely left something to be desired. Still, on the whole, the lack of offense was quite a team effort.

The Yankees got beat by a better team tonight.  I’m not sure the Astros would have been better in Games 2-7 in a longer series, but they had everything in their favor in this one.

Keuchel, Astros cruise past Yankees in AL Wild Card Game

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Dallas Keuchel faced the Yankees two times during the regular season and was fantastic in each outing, striking out 12 in a complete-game shutout on June 25 and whiffing nine batters over seven scoreless frames on August 25.

The 2015 Cy  Young Award candidate continued that trend in Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game, limiting the Yankees to three hits and one walk over six innings of scoreless ball as the Astros earned a 3-0 win and advanced to a best-of-five ALDS with the top-seeded Royals.

Keuchel was working on three days of rest but didn’t show very many signs of fatigue, whiffing seven and needing only 87 pitches to get through six. He sure looked like he could have gone an inning longer, but Astros manager A.J. Hinch decided to turn the game over to his bullpen and they added three more big zeroes to the scoreboard at a very loud then very boo-heavy Yankee Stadium. Tony Sipp worked around some early jitters to throw a scoreless seventh, Will Harris kept the Yankees off the bases entirely in a scoreless eighth, and closer Luke Gregerson went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth.

Impending free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus provided the first burst of offense for the Astros in the top of the second inning with a leadoff homer against Masahiro Tanaka. And then deadline acquisition Carlos Gomez, who missed a bunch of time down the stretch with an intercostal strain, got to Tanaka for another solo shot in the top of the fourth. Houston scored its third run on a Jose Altuve RBI single in the top of the seventh.

This is a young, talented Astros team with an ace at the head of its rotation.

Kansas City could have a problem.