As we enter the final week of spring training, fans begin to become more anxious for opening day and Major League clubs begin to mold themselves into the final product that will be the 25-man roster.
With it being so late in the spring, the team cuts begin to occur frequently. Also when April 1st beckons, available names via trade or free agency are thrown around to provoke thought on how these guys may improve a team.
The Yankees have trimmed down their roster a handful at a time. It began when Nik Turley, Jose Ramirez, Francisco Rondon, Slade Heathcott, and Gary Sanchez were sent packing. Then came Bryan Mitchell and Manny Banuelos.
However, the biggest group of cuts came this past week as the regular season approaches. On the pitching side, the Yankees sent off Bruce Billings, Robert Coello, and Brian Gordon who obviously were not going to make the team. They also reassigned prospects Chase Whitley and Mark Montgomery. Montgomery will start the year in Triple-A.
On the hitting side, Jose Pirela, Ramon Flores, and Corban Joseph have all been cut from the big league roster. Catchers Francisco Arcia and Pete O’Brien were also sent packing. Finally, outfielders Tyler Austin and Yankees number two prospect Mason Williams are also gone.
There are still rotation and bullpen spots available as well as one more infield spot. Although the fifth spot in the rotation will likely go to Michael Pineda, there are a few key pitchers left fighting for a spot on the club. Those guys are Dellin Betances, Cesar Cabral, Preston Claiborne, and Vidal Nuno.
As for the final infield spot, Zelous Wheeler, Yangervis Solarte, Scott Sizemore, and Russ Canzler all remain in contention. The Yankees will likely be smart and stay within the organization for infield depth but that does not mean rumors won’t be thrown around.
Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins seems to have worn out his welcome in Philadelphia and has become expendable. However It doesn’t appear to bother Rollins as he said “… I can’t be traded. It doesn’t matter.”
Rollins has 10-and-5 rights, meaning he has spent at least ten years in the league while at least the last five have been with one team. This gives him a no-trade clause which it appears he is not willing to wave. As for the final rumor being thrown around this week, Stephen Drew…. again.
No shocker here. Many people still believe the Yankees are the best fit for Drew, but I can’t see it happening unless an infield injury causes them to become desperate enough. Keep an ear open for the remaining cuts as it will be very interesting to see who gains Joe Girardi‘s trust and ends up filling out the roster.