The Yankees have a full 40-man roster, but the Kevin Youkilis deal became official today and Ichiro Suzuki‘s deal will be complete shortly after. On top of that they are still going to have to add another outfielder, possibly another catcher, and some depth. So it’s safe to say that a number of players on the 40-man roster are in danger of being designated for assignment.
The Yankees do a good job protecting their better prospects from the 40-man roster so there are quite a few players that are untouchable even if they aren’t going to contribute to the 2013 Yankees. That leaves only a few names that are obvious DFA candidates: Jim Miller, Francisco Rondon and Josh Spence.
Miller and Spence, who were claimed from the A’s and Padres earlier this offseason are probably the first to go. Being that the Yankees claimed them off waivers, and are generally far down the waiver wire, there is a chance that they clear and are assigned to Triple-A, but that strategy already backfired with Eli Whiteside and Mickey Storey this offseason.
I also included Rondon on this list because while he is a decent prospect and a lefty, the Yankees already have Boone Logan and Clay Rapada. Throw in Cesar Cabral, who will also compete for a spot on the major league roster so they could decide it’s overkill and DFA him too.
Two other names that might be a little bit more of a surprise could be Chris Stewart and Chris Dickerson. Nobody knows who the Yankees catching tandem will be next year and Stew could be a part of that, but Bobby Wilson, who was signed to a minor league deal and isn’t on the 40-man roster, might have been signed with this exact situation in mind. If he is Stewart’s replacement, and he might as well be because they’re both no-hit defensive catchers, then Stew could be as good as gone.
I also listed Dickerson because while he is a solid player who probably shouldn’t be stuck in the minors, he is left handed. Considering the Yankees now have an all left handed hitting outfield he’s a bit overkill. They are already looking to acquiring a right handed hitting outfielder which will drop Dickerson from the fourth to the fifth outfielder already. At that point they might as well use Melky Mesa or Zoilo Almonte the fifth outfielder.
There are also the injured pitchers on the 40-man roster to consider. They can’t be placed on the 60-day DL yet, thus being removed from the 40-man roster, but that’s just a technicality. The Yankees can hold off on making a deal or two official for a while, probably not the Youk or Ichiro deals but the depth moves they make later on, and announce it after Manny Banuelos or Michael Pineda are eligible to be placed on the 60-man DL.
A trade could also happen and with a huge gaping hole behind the plate something could happen in that area at any time. As it is the Yankees have a few pieces that they don’t exactly have room for. Eduardo Nunez and Adam Warren are the perfect examples of this. David Adams and Corban Joseph might also be included depending on what the Yankees plans for Robinson Cano are. Nothing seems imminent, but with Brian Cashman trades can often go under the radar right up until the time they go down.
Whichever way they choose to go it’s going to happen soon. Youkilis is official already so we could see the first move happen today. Ichiro probably just has to pass a physical so maybe another 40-man roster move will happen tomorrow. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.