The only real decision left for the Yankees’ roster is whether or not to make veteran Angel Berroa or prospect Ramiro Pena the utility man. Both seem like good choices this spring, but if you give them a deeper look, they’re both probably pretty flawed.
Berroa has been pretty terrible since stealing the Rookie of the Year award from Hideki Matsui in 2003. He’s not a particularly good defender, but can play all over the infield. He’s over 30 at this point and some have hinted that he might be older than he says. This spring though, he’s been on fire, and is one of the teams’ leading hitters. But of course, spring stats are essentially meaningless.
Pena on the other hand has been a middling SS prospect but for whatever reason has received a lot of attention from media and scouts because of his great defense and an offensive game that “won’t keep him from playing.” I am skeptical, though. Not necessarily about his defense, but his ability to hit. He’s never been considered even a top 30 prospect. That doesn’t mean he’s terrible, but is he really going to be able to handle SS duties at the major league level?
Overall, none of this matters that much, because once A-Rod returns, this player will likely be out as Ransom will become the utility guy. However, if the Yankees believe Pena truly is a prospect, it probably makes sense to play him in AAA where he can play every day. If not, I think he should be the utility guy. The Yankees have guys who can hit, but a stellar infield glove could do them a lot of good, not to mention Pena is fast enough to pinch run.