The countdown for Thursday, the official report date of Yankees pitchers and catchers, is ticking down. Activity has already started at the team complex in Tampa, Fla. and anticipation is kicking into high gear for the upcoming season.
In the fifth installment of our Spring Training preview package, MLB.com will dust off the crystal ball and predict how the Yankees' batting order, pitching rotation and bullpen will look when the team takes the field on Opening Day, April 4 against the Astros at Yankee Stadium.
The resulting product is somewhat different than what the Yanks expected at their organizational meetings following the World Series; for one thing, they were never able to find an upgrade to the starting rotation, though it was not for a lack of trying.
Instead, general manager Brian Cashman bolstered the bullpen with closer Aroldis Chapman, upgraded at second base with Starlin Castro and added an athletic young talent to the outfield in Aaron Hicks. Cashman recently pointed out that he still has time to tweak the final product.
"It's never the team you have going forward, it's always up for change," Cashman said. "That's the case up until the [Trade] Deadline. We'll go through a series of opportunities and changes and injuries and unexpected positive performance, unexpected negative performance. That's all part of it. There's no race to solidify a frozen roster here until, really, Aug. 31."