Yankees Non-Tender Candidates Heading Into the Offseason


The New York Yankees began the process of cleaning out the 40-man roster by out-righting reliever J.R.Graham to Triple-A Monday. Here’s a look at which players could be next in line.

The only surprising thing about the news that the New York Yankees had removed J.R. Graham from the 40-man roster was the fact that J.R. Graham was still on the 40-man roster. The 26-year-old righty never made a big league appearance for New York during his incredibly forgettable stint in the organization after being claimed off waivers from the Twins this spring.

Ranked a top-100 prospect by Baseball America before the 2013 season, Graham has struggled with injuries and a tendency to allow too many long-balls during his six year professional career. He did pitch to a 4.95 ERA in 63.2 innings out of Minnesota’s bullpen last year.

The decision to outright Graham is the first in what is sure to be a series of moves to make room on the 40-man roster following the season. A number of top prospects like Jorge Mateo, Miguel Andujar, Dietrich Enns, and Jake Cave will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft this winter, so the Yankees will need to add them to the roster or risk losing them to other organizations.

More from Yankees News

Here are a few guys who stick out as most likely to be let go following the season:

Eric Young Jr.- He hasn’t seen much action as the team’s designated September pinch-runner, appearing in four games, stealing one base, and scoring one run. Perhaps the player most certain to get the axe.

Richard Bleier– The 29-year-old lefty had a surprisingly good season for the Yankees, putting up a 2.33 ERA and 2.62 FIP in 19.1 IP out of the pen. Still, minor league journeymen relievers tend to be in the first round of cuts when a roster crunch comes.

Nathan Eovaldi– Will miss all of next season following TJ surgery and is scheduled to hit free agency after 2017. No discussions on an extension have been reported, so it seems like the team will just move on from Evo.

Dustin Ackley– While he has an additional year of team control, Ackley may have been a non-tender candidate even if he hadn’t missed the entire season with a torn labrum. Rob Refsnyder is a pretty similar player at a fraction of the cost.

Austin Romine– The 27-year-old was a fine backup, but with Gary Sanchez, Brian McCann, and Kyle Higashioka all probably better options, Romine might have to move on from the only organization he’s ever known.

Tommy Layne– Quietly one of the team’s better relievers in the second half since being released by the Red Sox, there’s a chance Layne makes it to next spring, but may end up losing his spot to a guy like Dietrich Enns for Tyler Webb. A 31-year-old lefty isn’t someone you build around.

Blake Parker– A string of high-profile meltdowns lately have sealed his fate.

Donovan Solano– He probably never would have received a call up at all if Starlin Castro hadn’t gotten hurt. He’s played well, but Ronald Torreyes probably has the utility infielder job locked up for next season.

Johnny Barbato– The fact that he never got the September call up that many predicted is telling. He made the bullpen out of spring training, but pitched to a 7.62 ERA in 13 appearances and never really seemed to turn things around in the minors. Too many relievers have passed him on the depth chart at this point.

Next: Three Under-the-Radar Free Agent Upgrades for the Yankees

Kirby Yates– Got off to a nice start with the big league club, even taking on a set-up role before Aroldis Chapman came back from suspension. Eventually, the magic wore off and he finished the year with a 5.36 ERA in 40.1 IP. Pass…