Yankees 2017: Facing The Building Spring Training Conundrum

Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

The Yankees, like all teams in the league, have only 25 spots on their roster to fill. In all likelihood, names are already penciled in with names of the players who will be on the flight when the season opens in Tampa on April 2. Where does that leave the rest?

The Yankees have been generous in offering invites to Spring Training this year. On January 31, the team issued a press release that, in part, read:

"“The New York Yankees today announced that they have signed 11 players to minor league contracts with an invitation to Major League Spring Training: C Wilkin Castillo, INF Ji-Man Choi, C Kellin Deglan, C Francisco Diaz, LHP Jason Gurka, INF Pete Kozma, LHP Joe Mantiply, RHP Nick Rumbelow, LHP Evan Rutckyj, INF Donovan Solano and INF Ruben Tejada. Diaz, Kozma, Rumbelow, Rutckyj and Solano were in the Yankees organization last year and return in 2017 after signing new minor league deals. The club has also invited 12 additional players to 2017 spring training, bringing the total number of invitees to 23 (11 pitchers, four catchers, six infielders and two outfielders). The number of players now scheduled to report is 63.”"

For the sixty-three players arriving today, it is both a blessing and a curse. For some, their time in camp will merely be to showcase their talents for other teams. For others, they arrive knowing that they are already ticketed for the minor leagues because some “body” has to catch those 23 pitchers in camp. And for a few others, they arrive knowing that this is their last gasp attempt to make it to “The Show” for the first time, or maybe for one last time.

Get ready for an onslaught of controversy and second-guessing. It’s gonna be a real barn-burner (Spring Training)

Spring Training promises to be no picnic for the Yankees either. What happens if, for instance, Chance Adams lights it up over the next six weeks, and makes a strong case that he’s ready to join the starting rotation (now!). Do the Yankees create a spot for him, and if they do, who gets moved to the bullpen or gets traded? Conversely, if they cut Adams and send him back to Triple-A, how do they massage his ego in “explaining” the business of baseball to him?

The same goes for a player like Gleyber Torres. Here’s a guy who just tore the Arizona Fall League and won the MVP award there. He’s also someone who already has a flight number and seat on the plane to Double-A Trenton when the season opens. What happens if Torres keeps up the pace he’s set for himself, making Brian Cashman’s choices limited to the point where Torres has to be wearing the pinstripes in the Bronx or face riots in the streets on River Avenue outside Yankee Stadium.

More from Yanks Go Yard

On the one hand, these are excellent problems for the Yankees to be blessed with. But on the proverbial other hands, these are problems that the Yankees don’t necessarily want to be dealing with right now.

Because right now the Yankees have millions of dollars invested in their infield trio of Starlin Castro, Didi Gregorius, and Chase Headley. And from a financial standpoint alone, it doesn’t make any sense for any of them to take a seat on the bench for a 20-year old kid who would be making the major league minimum, no matter how good he is. In baseball, that’s life.

And the conundrum gets louder and compounded when you consider that most scouts agree that James Kaprielian is major league ready now. And that if Clint Frazier were on the roster of the Oakland A’s instead of the Yankees, he would be starting in their outfield on Opening Day.

Next: Yankees 25 Most Memorable Home Runs

So conceivably, Spring Training could add up to one big headache for the Yankees. Get ready for an onslaught of controversy and second-guessing. It’s gonna be a real barn-burner.