2014 25-Man Roster, flexibility, goals for the offseason, and Tyler Austin 62

Tyler Austin2If the 2014 season started today, this is what the Yankees 25 man roster would look like.


1. Dellin Betances
2. Cesar Cabral
3. Preston Claiborne
4. Shawn Kelley
5. Ivan Nova
6. David Phelps
7. David Robertson
8. CC Sabathia
9. Adam Warren


10. Chris Stewart
11. Austin Romine


12. Derek Jeter
13. Eduardo Nunez
14. Jason Nix
15. Mark Teixeira


16. Zoilo Almonte
17. Brett Gardner
18. Alfonso Soriano
19. Ichiro Suzuki
20. Vernon Wells

This leaves five spots. One will have to be a second baseman. One will have to be a third baseman. Other than that, they will need at least two starting pitchers, and then the 25th man, who would probably be a reliever. They also have some flexibility with many of the above players. Zoilo Almonte can be sent down at any time because he has options. Vernon Wells could be dropped at no cost to the team if they chose to go that route. Nix and Nunez are also pretty expendable, although I don’t have anyone in mind to take their place. At catcher, the Yankees also have Francisco Cervelli and JR Murphy ready to play.

In the pitching department, Phelps, Claiborne, and Warren all have options. That’s nine players total who have significant roster flexibility. That means the Yankees will have 14 roster spots to play with this offseason. They’ll have close to $100 million to do what they see fit with those 14 roster slots. I’ve already outlined some players who could be good fits if signed in a previous article.

Robinson Cano is the elephant in the room. They must resign him or they will be in serious trouble. Simple as that.

The most glaring and obvious area outside second base which is going to be a problem is third base. The free agent market is thin and the farm does not have anyone ready to step in. I outlined why Michael Young might be the best option in the last article, but he does have some glaring weaknesses including defense and the fact that he had a horrible first half in 2013. It wouldn’t be prudent to hand the reins over to David Adams, who was completely underwhelming in his debut. Ronnier Mustelier was moved off third base because of defense and there are enough question marks about his offense that he is not a legitimate option.

Lastly, you could consider a guy like Tyler Austin. Austin has played third base in the past. He is one of a group of 4-5 legitimate outfield prospects the Yankees have who are close to the major leagues. Early in his career, his defense at third was reasonably good according to scouts. For one reason or another, he was moved off the hot corner though. It may have been that he just couldn’t handle it defensively and the coaches who saw him every day were able to see that. If, however, he is a legitimate third baseman, he should be moved back there now. This is not so much for 2014 because I do believe the Yankees will sign a stopgap. In 2015 they will need someone to be ready to man third base though. A-Rod will be back, and they won’t be able to afford to spend money on another third baseman. It is doubtful A-Rod will be able to play the field much, so someone from within the organization will have to step up. Tyler Austin could actually be that guy.

The second most important weakness that clearly will have to be addressed is pitching. The Yankees can no longer say CC Sabathia is an ace. He may get back to that type of performance, but they cannot rely on him for that anymore. They could bring Kuroda back, which would help immensely. They do have some solid 3-5 options with Nova, Phelps, Warren, Pineda, Banuelos, Vidal Nuno, and Brett Marshall too. That said, in the (in my opinion) unlikely scenario that Kuroda retires, there are some decent options on the free agent market. Matt Garza, Josh Johnson, Tim Lincecum, Ricky Nolasco, and of course Pettitte.

Personally, I’d love to see them go out and get Nolasco and then either Garza, Pettitte, or Kuroda.

Should the Yankees accomplish the following goals this offseason, they will get back to playoff baseball in 2014.

1. Resign Cano at all costs.
2. Sign Michael Young to a one year contract and move Tyler Austin back to third base. Also be aggressive with Eric Jagielo and move him quickly through the system as long as he earns it.
3. Sign Ricky Nolasco and one of the following: Hiroki Kuroda, Matt Garza, Andy Pettitte, or Masahiro Tanaka (Japanese pitcher up for bidding this offseason)
4. Give Hughes a qualifying offer. If he accepts, trade him for whatever you can get as long as the other team pays his salary. If he declines, enjoy the draft pick.
5. Give Granderson a qualifying offer. If he accepts (no idea why he would), then drop Vernon Wells. If he declines, enjoy the draft pick.
6. Sign a quality DH. Any of the following would be great options: James Loney, Kendrys Morales, Justin Morneau, Mike Napoli, Jose Dariel Abreu (the newest Cuban defector) OR sign Brian McCann to be your catcher/backup first baseman/DH.

I think it would be a little much to expect the Yankees to do the above six things and keep their payroll under the luxury tax threshold. That said, if Cashman is able to pull this off then the Yankees will both make the playoffs in 2014 and will be set up nicely in the future with the two draft picks they are able to obtain for Granderson and Hughes.

This would be the new 25 man roster ideally

Starting Pitchers

1. Hiroki Kuroda
2. CC Sabathia
3. Ricky Nolasco
4. Ivan Nova
5. David Phelps


6. Dellin Betances
7. Cesar Cabral
8. Preston Claiborne
9. Shawn Kelley
10. David Robertson
11. Adam Warren
12. Vidal Nuno


13. Brian McCann
14. Austin Romine


15. Derek Jeter
16. Eduardo Nunez
17. Jason Nix
18. Mark Teixeira
19. Robinson Cano
20. Michael Young


21. Zoilo Almonte
22. Brett Gardner
23. Alfonso Soriano
24. Ichiro Suzuki
25. Curtis Granderson/Vernon Wells

Looks like a winning team to me.


62 thoughts on “2014 25-Man Roster, flexibility, goals for the offseason, and Tyler Austin

  • SAM

    Great article but I hope we can get Francisco rondon in the bullpen as a second lefty and keep nuño as a starter so I WOULD HOPE the rotation would look like


    Then you also have options of Jose Ramirez, Marshall, Warren, FA, TANAKA, and possibly Nik Turley. Also I hope to see The flame thrower Tom Kahnle in the bullpen next year as a setup or closer along with mark Montgomery and I think they'd be great to fill in as 7th and 8th inning guys assuming D-Rob is the closer but then again both of those guys have experience as closers.

  • jfs

    With grandy that MAY be a winning team. I doubt they can get both him and McCann though (though I think McCann is a great move).

    That pitching staff seems sort of horrifying to me. CC and Kuroda are only getting older and I don't have great confidence in Nolasco or Nova to perform for a whole year. If he can handle it health-wise its time to give Pineda a shot. Maybe take a flyer on a guy like Josh Johnson for a low-risk, high-reward situation.

    Young is fine, but I think signing Reynolds wouldn't be a bad idea either. A lot depends on how long the A-Rod suspension ends up being.

  • Tanned Tom

    First, I love these types of articles. This sort of concrete thinking is notably absent from most sites, even fangraphs, which often devolves into a nerd-fest.
    No way on Nolasco. 8 years in the bigs and exactly 2 good years. A career ERA of 4.33 playing in the non-DH league? Pass. The rotation will have to be the dead whale Sabathia, Kuroda or Pettitte, Nova, Phelps, and Warren or Nuno or whatever scrap heap player Cashman can find.
    Also don't understand why people like McCann. Not a good fielder and injury prone. Please! No more injury prone players. Dump Cervelli and go with Romine, Stewart and Murphy.
    Michael Young is another pointless addition. An old, singles hitter who can't field. What could this player add that's of any value? 3B will have to be where the team gets creative, maybe find another Brosius type player, otherwise it'll be a mulligan stew of Jeter-Adams-Mustelier-Reynolds.
    SS simply CANNOT be Jeter or Nunez (who should be non-tendered or traded). Re-sign Ryan, maybe look signing Drew.
    Re-sign Cano of course.
    Get the pick for Granderson, but there is no way I'd offer it to Hughes. He'll accept for sure because it's above his market value. Which makes it impossible to trade a guy signed above his value and expect the other team to pay full freight. Just won't happen.

  • olie

    All good thoughts but it won't matter what moves they make if they can't find a quality Catcher. Although some people may not want to believe it they never replaced Russell Martin. CC stated how much he enjoyed pitching to Martin and we see how well CC did this year without him! I don't think the Pirates have any regrets.

  • Gonzalo Hiram

    Great article but I really think that there are 2 horrible decisions.

    – Giving Hughes a qualifying offer is the worst idea I have heard in the last 2 months.

    There is no way for us to get a draft pick with him, he would accept the offer and no team would trade for him without the Yankees paying at least for half of his money, that would be just a waste of money and the worst move for next off-season.

    As a rival GM told Jon Heyman: "They may make a qualifying offer. And I may run for president,"

    – They definetely should not keep Cano at all costs.

    People just need to take a look at ARod and CC to remember how bad would it be to keep a player at all costs.

  • Dave

    Starting pitching most of the year has been weak or suspect. I think CC has lost it, Nova… not dependable…. Pineda who knows…. we need a front line pitcher.

    Jeter at short is suspect, Tex who knows use to be .300 hitter… let Grandy and Hughes find other teams. Still need strong 3rd baseman…. get rid of Youk, Haffner and probably Overbay. I would like to see JR Murphy develop into a good catcher. I like the idea of bringing in McCain… not sure front line teachers.

    I do not see the Yanks in the playoffs. It is time to draft well and develop the talent.

  • Tanned Tom

    Instead of fighting reality (that it's not possible to significantly reduce payroll and improve the team simultaneously) why not embrace what needs to be done? This team is not young enough, athletic enough or good enough. And adding veteran players on a stopgap basis only works when you have a good, solid, young core. Well Rivera is retiring, Williams and Posada are already gone, Jeter is finished, and Pettitte's ancient. There is no good young core.
    How about we start with something simple: trade or cut a few players over 30? That means not bringing back Hafner (36); making the qualifying offer to Granderson (32) in hopes that he walks; not bringing back Overbay (36) or Youkilis (34); and trading Suzuki (39) and Soriano (37).
    I'd say keep Kuroda (38) and Pettitte (41) on 1 year deals, re-sign Ryan (31), Reynolds (30), Cano (30), Gardner (30), Nix (31), Stewart (31), and keep Wells (34) as a platoon OF.

  • Robert B.

    Great article. I hope that Cashman reads you. How about copy paste to him. Are you his secretay? You did his job. BTW, who's your closer? Robertson? Can he be a closer for the whole year?

  • Dirtywater

    Give hughes a QO and trade him to whoever will pay his salary?

    Thats the effing stupidest thing I ever heard. If anyone was interested they could offer him the same money and get 2-3 years of his special brand of suck …..No one is interested in paying him the better part of $14m for a 1 year deal..

  • Mike

    I would offer Hughes a qualifying offer…if he accepts, GOOD…he will be part of the bullpen where he was once a valuable piece. If the plan is to have Robertson take over the starting role, then possiby Hughes could be the 7th inning guy, and maybe Betances the 8th inning guy. Point is….get something for Hughes after all that has been put into him. Chamberlain? just let him go. Useless.

  • Mike

    As for 3rd base. My guess is that ARod will serve less than half a season on suspension. So….what do the Yankees do? I say…re-sign Youkilis. Why Not?? We paid to have his back repaired!! If he can prove he is phsically sound, then I say sign him….If not, then sign Mark Reynolds. he's proven to be a good defensive and offensive addition for the Yanks. Hitting close to .300 since coming here, and producing runs. Also…he can play both corner positions and DH.

    Granderson won't accept the qualifying offer from the Yanks….he's going elsewhere. So my money saved there would go towards the pursuit Jacoby Ellsbury. Proven leadoff man….base stealer extraordinaire….good defensive player and perennial .300 hitter. Put him in left field OR center. You would have an outfield with serious speed.

  • Mike

    Shortstop…IF Jeter comes back you KNOW it will only be if he feels that he can play at a high level. if not….I think you may see Jeter retire. That is the kind of a MAN he is. Not like he'll be hurting for money the rest of his life…so I say if Jeter comes back then there is NO QUESTION that he plays shortstop. He's earned that spot!! None of us Yankee fans should DARE speak of replacing him…especially knowing that he would be the first one to leave if he were no longer capable.

    The Yanks should try to re-sign Kuroda. he's been their best pitcher this year. And if Andy wants to come back….why not let him? But Girardi needs to get him out of there at 80-85 pitches….whether he is doing good or not. His stuff flattens out when getting past 80 pitches and leaks out ove the middle of the plate.

    Catching? Cervelli & Romine are the top 2 guys in my book. Probably the job eventually goes to Romine, and I think he will turn into a pretty good hitter with occasional power.

  • Mike

    Signing Cano is a given.

    If the Yankees want to return to glory again, they will have to wait out these TITANIC contracts of the past. The Arod signing was the worst move I can ever remember them making..that kind of money should just never be given to anyone.

    Bottom line is they have to start rebuilding the farm system. They need scouts that can find a Mike Trout kind of player. Buying superstars is not the answer…mostly because by the time we get them, they are past their prime.

  • tommy cassella

    I agree with mike that signing a-choke was a big mistake. right now he is in a one for twenty two slump and he is hurting the yanks more than helping them.

  • mikem

    Time to move Jeter to 3B , sign Drew for SS , resign Cano.
    For the OF, give Granderson a QA , if he declines , platoon Mustellier and Almonte
    Cut Wells, Suzuki is 5th OF
    DH sign Morales or Beltran
    P Give Kuroda a QA, otherwise let's get some ground ball pitchers like Feldman in the rotation, low cost and flexible. Need to sort through the other options and see what they can do such as Pineda,Phelps,Nova,Nuno,Warren,Ramirez,Benuelos,Turley,Marshall and maybe Huff.

    Let's start building value and trade bait with these pitchers.

    Mcann is intriguing, but you will be paying 4-5m more than Morales or Beltran due to the C position of whuich he is average defensively

  • Yankees


  • hotdog

    I think they re-sign Cano for what it might say about the Yankees if they don't…i don't know much about their finances but you need stars on the field to draw in fans…with Arod likely gone for most of the season in 2014, Mo retired, Pettite retired, Granderson gone and Jeter aging, losing Cano could really hurt this team financially…i don't see baseball fans turning to the ballet for NYC entertainment but this team needs stars…i can't say I know what to do but I'm a little tired of filler players…i think if we can sign Granderson for 3-4 years, that helps but it also keeps Almonte in the wings…i like Napoli but he's a 1st baseman and DH…you'd have a logjam at DH imo…

    1. Jeter
    2. Granderson
    3. Cano
    4. Tex (Tex needs some protection, Soriano not as much imo)
    5. Soriano
    6. Michael Young, we need a third baseman
    7. Ichiro
    8. I like JR Murphy and have him fight for a starters job if he's ready-batting 9th though.
    9. Gardner

  • brian tripp

    If cano wants 305 mil he done as a yankee. I am not high on gardner . I can see the yanks go after lincecum for the right price and ellsbury just to scare boston. I am one who thought they should of kept austin jackson rather then grandy. But unlike other sports yanks can get younger and still be competitive with no cap kets see what happens.

  • Jim

    gotta wait out the contracts of cc tex arod jeter before you can rebuild this team. Cano 6 years max deal for 140 mil or let him walk. Better off waiting a few years before throwing around 200-250 million dollar contracts again. Stanton Harper Trout are a few guys worth waiting for and there will be others and in the meantime, develop the young guys we already have for a few years and build the farm system.

  • Yankee

    CC Sabathia
    Matt Garza
    Ivan Nova
    David Phelps
    Michael Pineda

    K. Morales/Loney/Napoli (DH)
    M. Young

    Pinch Hitters

  • Bobby Reed

    Some one above mentioned they did not know much about the Yankee's money situation, 2014 they have said under $189 and have been saying that for 2 years now. Here are my guess's for 2014:
    1B – Tex @ his 22.5 I think it is
    2B – Cano signs @ 5-6 yrs @ 26 or 27 mil
    SS – Jeter resigns 1 yrs @ 13/14 mil (player Option @ 8 mil now, 3 Mil buy-out)
    3B – Renyolds 1 yr 6 mil back up 1B against possibly LT's
    C – Romine PY .6
    RF – Ichiro is signed 1 yr 6.5 mil
    CF – Gardner is I believe Arb eligible past year 2.85…. figure most likely 4 mil
    LF – Soriano is signed 1 yr 5 mil

    SP – CC @ 23mil
    SP – Nova Team control past yr was .575 try to sign him 3-4 years around 4-5 mil per yr, if not slight bump
    SP – Pineda same, .528 past yr
    SP -Phelps same .512 past yr (PY)
    SP – FA/ Nuno need lefty not many out there .400 this past yr

    RP – Robertson Closer if,,,, Think Arb. eligible past yr 3.1 can see increase to 5-6 mil
    RP – Warren PY .490
    RP – Cabral PY. 490
    RP – Kelly PY .935 most likey an increase
    RP – Bettances PY .5 (out of Options)
    RP – Claiborne PY .6

    Ryan SS – resign PY 3.25 mil
    Cervelli or Murphy C – Cer PY .515 Murf PY .4
    Nix 2b/3b PY .9
    Wells signed for 2.4 mil or Drop for nothing
    Numez back up INF (my hope finally traded)

    Chamberlain – BYE BYE
    Granderson QO takes it DH/OF does not take it 1st rd end of rd pick
    Logan – RP -PY 3.15 mil maybe 1-2 yr about same money
    Hughes – if QO is 6-7 mil I offer….. higher BYE BYE My reason if he takes 6-7 mil junk innings U have to have one
    Kuroda – maybe the FA PY 15…. I do not offer this time more then 10 mil or BYE BYE
    Huff – ?????? good enough to be #5 ????????
    Steward – BYE BYE
    Youklis – last year was my pick to sign along with Peirsinski C this year BYE BYE
    Overbay – just no room
    Hafner BYE BYE
    Pettitte – Retired and stays that way
    MO – Same….but I put a big —–THANK U…

    and out of that 189 mil …… 8.5 to AJ Burnett still

    with still figuring A-Rod for 25 mil (will get some of that back if not all)

    That leaves any of the back up's out of the scene and about (depending on slight increases here and there) between 17-22 mil left

    Adams and Zgurski were not mentioned …sorry but does it matter

    My key resigns are Cano and Ryan

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