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Keep on Eye on Cesar Cabral for 25th Spot

By Mike Silva ~ March 3rd, 2012. Filed under: New York Yankees.

The Yankees 25-man roster is virtually set after just one spring training game. Assuming everyone stays healthy, there are 11 “locks” on the pitching staff and 13 “locks” on the positional side. That leaves one roster spot open, will it be a twelfth pitcher, DH-type or additional middle-infield depth?

One name to keep an eye out for is Cesar Cabral. Selected in the December Rule 5 draft, Cabral pitched to a 0.71 ERA in the Dominican Winter League, while holding opponents to a .159 BA. In addition, he struck out 13 and walked only 3 in 12.2 innings.

Erik Boland of Newsday talked about possible spring sleepers on my Wednesday radio program. He indicated that Cabral was talked about highly by a Yankees talent evaluator. “He’s looked very good in camp…he absolutely cleaned up in winter ball this year…a scout that I talked to thinks there is a decent chance that Cabral could pitch well enough this spring to make the roster.”

Again, and I have been repeating this ad nauseam, I believe championship teams need two lefties to navigate a ballgame. The Yankees have Boone Logan, who I view as a second lefty-type. Last year, Logan was better against RHB (.673 OPS) than LHB (.789 OPS). In 2010 the reverse was true as his performance against LHB (.508 OPS) was far better than RHB (.842).

In addition to Cabral, the Yankees have journeyman lefty Clay Rapada in camp as a non-roster invitee. It’s amazing that Rapada hasn’t been able to stick in the big leagues since LHB only have a .472 OPS against him throughout his career. RHB torch him (1.166 OPS), which explains the 4-A shuttle, but if you are going to carry 12 pitchers it shouldn’t be an issue to have a strict LOOGY on the roster.

The only other players that I could see sneak onto the roster is Jorge Vazquez (DH), Ramiro Pena (backup middle infielder) or maybe the versatile veteran Bill Hall. Another name to remember is RHP Cory Wade, who did a great job last season (2.04 ERA). If Freddy Garcia is the bullpen (likely), I am not sure there is a need for Wade, who does have a minor league option remaining.

One thing to keep in mind is that the Yankees middle relief corps doesn’t suffer from negative platoon splits, so they could continue with how they’ve done it the last two years and go with just Logan.

In case you are wondering, Girardi went with 12 pitchers on the opening day roster last season. That might give you a hint as to who has the leg up for the final roster spot.

Personally, I would like to see Cabral or Rapada make the team if they show something this spring. I would give the advantage to Rapada, as there is a reason that Cabral was available in the Rule 5 draft.

Lefties do sometimes mature late. Look at Pedro Feliciano, who came into his own in 2006 at the age of 29. Cabral is a baby, as  just turned 23.


You can read more about Cabral by going to the profile I wrote about him during the Winter Meetings.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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4 Responses to Keep on Eye on Cesar Cabral for 25th Spot

  1. Chuck Johnson

    Logan is out of options, so unless he completely implodes in ST he’s a lock for the roster, and even at that the Yanks wouldn’t release him.

    Lefties have trade value.

    Cabral was impressive today, he ran into some control issues during his second inning, but it was the first “live” action of the year, so as long as he didn’t hurt himself it was a successful outing.

    If the Yanks will carry two lefties, then both Logan and Cabral will head north, if they carry just one, then Cabral will be offered back.

    No one else realistically has a chance.

  2. Daler

    Chuck didn’t mention Montero?? Is he feeling ok?

  3. Brien Jackson

    “Again, and I have been repeating this ad nauseam, I believe championship teams need two lefties to navigate a ballgame.”

    Well most teams aren’t carrying three guys at the back end of the bullpen who should be top tier talents that can get guys out from both sides (and Cory Wade’s changeup makes him pretty effective against lefties). To that end, a pure LOOGY like Rapada seems like a waste of a roster spot to me, though if you can get one who at least won’t get murdered by right handed batters it would make sense.

    Also, I really don’t get your obsession with Jorge Vazquez.

  4. Brien Jackson

    “Cabral was impressive today, he ran into some control issues during his second inning…”

    Cabral only pitched one inning (the 8th, and was replaced by O’Connor to begin the 9th), but “A” for effort I guess.

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