Yesterday’s contract tender deadline for all 40-man players came and went with a whimper for the Yankees. Everyone who needed to be tendered a deal was offered one, meaning the 40-man roster remains full. And really, the team has 41 players because Domingo Germán is excluded while on the restricted list. Of that group, the Yankees have just 16 position players.
There’s still plenty of offseason remaining, so things will shuffle around between now and spring training. But in looking at the roster right now, it’s clear that the Yankees are a little bit imbalanced. Assuming they carry an even split of 13 pitchers and 13 fielders in 2020, they’ll only have three others readily available in the minors. That may not necessarily be a problem, but it’d be nice to have a little more flexible depth.
By flexible depth, I’m particularly calling out MLB-ready players with options. Here’s the Yankees’ current option situation:
- Options remaining: Tyler Wade, Thairo Estrada, Clint Frazier, Mike Ford, Estevan Florial
- Out of options: Kyle Higashioka, Mike Tauchman, Gio Urshela
Now, there are others with options like Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres. However, something horrible would have to go wrong in order for either to be in consideration for a demotion.
Since Florial is unlikely to play a role in 2020, the team essentially has only four guys who can go up-and-down as the front office pleases. Chances are that one of Wade or Estrada is the club’s reserve infielder, but after that, it’s a little murkier.
The Bombers will need a fourth outfielder, but that probably will be Tauchman once Brett Gardner presumably returns. That leaves Frazier wasting away in Triple-A again, though a trade certainly is possible.
Then there’s Ford, who was terrific in his stint with the Bombers this season. But, assuming Luke Voit is fine and the DH spot is occupied by Giancarlo Stanton and Miguel Andújar, what kind of role does Ford really have? He’s basically just an injury replacement because it’s hard to see him playing at all as the 26th man.
All of this is a long-winded way of saying that the Yankees still have some 40-man cleanup to do. It may not necessarily be anything exciting, but they could use a little more balance between pitchers and position players. If they were to run into another slew of injuries in the field, the team’s depth would thin out very quickly.
Additionally, they can use some of its deep pitching staff on the 40-man to consolidate things. Obviously, starting pitching is paramount to the success of this offseason. Perhaps dealing a couple of 40-man pitchers can net them a starter on the market, such as Jon Gray or Dylan Bundy. That’d help them accomplish the goal of improving the pitching staff while creating room for more infielders and outfielders.
Again, the winter is just beginning. The 40-man roster is bound to look a lot different over the coming weeks and months. For now, accounting for the situation as it stands could hint at the team’s upcoming plans.