recently signed (to a Minor League deal) Jon Niese. Niese represents a veteran presence amongst a bunch of young guys. There are no favorites at this point, with Spring results being of the utmost importance. Who will emerge? Only time will tell, and Yankees fans will surely be watching this one closely every time one of these guys takes the mound in March. You can check out my projected 2017 rotation for the Yankees here, which was written before the Niese deal. How will Greg Bird and Chris Carter have their at-bats split up? For almost the entire Winter, Greg Bird was expected to be the Yankees primary first baseman. There was no one else on the roster who really seemed to pose much of a threat to the 24-year-old. Tyler Austin did not show enough last season to give fans hope he could be an everyday guy to start off 2017. But Bird brought about his own share of questions. The power hitting first baseman missed the entire 2016 thanks to a shoulder injury suffered before Spring Training really got going in 2016. Before that, the only glimpse of Bird we have seen was during a 46 game run in 2015. While he showed some promise during that run, it was such a small sample that Bird was far from a given. Then the Yankees went out and signed Chris Carter, who led the NL in home runs with 41 a year ago while with the Milwaukee Brewers. With Carter now in the fold, many began to ask the question, who will start at first? With Carter being a righty and Bird being a lefty with the bat, some quickly jumped at the thought of a platoon. But with Carter’s primary asset being his power paired with the fact that he launched 29 of his long balls off right-handers, it just does not seem like he would be benched for Bird for every game they face a righty. Spring Training will give us our first glimpse on how Joe Girardi will handle the duo. Will he split at-bats virtually 50/50? Will he give Carter more at-bats because of his proven power? Be sure to follow along this Spring to get a feel. Does Matt Holliday look like a 30 home run type of guy? One of the biggest moves the Bronx Bombers made this offseason was the signing of free agent Matt Holliday. Holliday will be 37 this season and health has always been a concern for the power hitter. With the Yankees, it is expected that he will be the primary DH. This should help in keeping his legs healthier, thus leading to overall better results with the bat. Last season, Holliday played in 110 games and was able to hit 20 homers. Another year older, his underlying power is not going to go up. But with that extra rest of not having to play defense paired with the hitter-friendly environment of Yankee Stadium has fans dreaming of a 30 homer season. The first clue as to whether Holliday will be up to the challenge will come over the course of the next month. If his swing looks slow and he looks his age, then 30 may be a pipedream. But if he looks fresh and healthy, fans can continue to dream. If you attend a Yankees game this Spring, or happen to watch one on tv, be sure to take a close look at the team’s new DH. He is expected to be a core part of their lineup in 2017, so he better look sharp this Spring if the team wants to have a shot at being competetive. So there you have it. What are the biggest storylines you will be following this Spring when it comes to the New York Yankees? Tell us in the comments!
Feb 14, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Luis Severino (40) and relief pitcher Luis Cessa (85) work out as pitchers and catchers report for spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports