Yankees: It’s Beginning To Look A Little Crowded Around Here

Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports /

The Yankees have a problem with their 25-man roster. They have way too many good players, especially infielders. Sooner or later, something has to give.

The Yankees are beginning to look like a rich old man who has way more money than he can use. But unlike the rich old man, they can’t donate to charity. With the Yankees, it’s becoming more of use it or lose it situation and the appeal of having this problem is already beginning to lose its glamor.

Tyler Wade is slated be the starting shortstop for Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre when the season starts. But at the moment, he has Didi Gregorius in front of him, and Gleyber Torres is coming up fast behind him. Starlin Castro is becoming rooted at second base, but Jorge Mateo is on the way with nowhere to play. Both Wade and Mateo are taking fly balls in the outfield, and we haven’t even touched on Miguel Andujar, Ronald Torreyes, Rob Refsnyder, and probably a couple or three more I’m omitting.

The Yankees Struggle With Simple Math

So count ’em. That’s eight players, all with talent, fighting for two positions. So now, the buzzword in camp is versatility. And that between Refsnyder, Wade, Andujar, Torreyes, and Mateo, the Yankees can keep a couple of them busy as utility players on the 25-man squad. If true, that still leaves three men out, and we haven’t even included Gleyber Torres, who seems to have a plan of his own.

Aaron Hicks and Tyler Austin, when he returns from injury, are already penciled in as utility outfielders. Depending on how many pitchers Joe Girardi decides to carry (12 or 13) along With the starting eight, that leaves only two or three positions open on the 25-man roster. And given Girardi’s penchant for using his bullpen, the number is more likely two since he’ll opt to carry 13 pitchers.

The Pare Down – When Does It Begin

At some point, the Yankees are going to have to pare down the number of talented players currently in their stable. The most likely way to do that is through trades that bring back some pitching. But you don’t want to go too far in that direction, leaving the team without adequate injury replacements.

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From where Brian Cashman sits, he doesn’t want to do anything at the moment and even for the rest of the season. The Yankees would rather wait to see how the competition shakes out, knowing that talent will weed itself out and cream will rise to the top. But the trouble with that, of course, is that once that happens, you’ve left yourself with the bottom of your barrel and players who do not necessarily have the value they once had.

Meanwhile, you also leave yourself wide open to having a bunch of guys who are disgruntled about the playing time they are getting, or, who feel, they feel they are being forced to play at a lower level than they should be at. Reportedly, Jorge Mateo popped off last year when he believed he was being passed over for a promotion and was handed a two-week suspension by the organization. And that could easily happen again.

Kicking The Can Down The Road

Brian Cashman will pull strings, but the weight will fall on Girardi to keep the peace. But the more difficult job will rest with Tony Franklin, the manager at Double-A Trenton and Al Pedrique, the manager at Triple-A where the castoffs are heading. The players who end up there won’t be complaining about playing time; they’ll get plenty of that. Instead, they would be more prone to complaining about the fact that they’re there in the first place.

Hopefully, of course, none of this will happen, and the Yankees family will remain intact. But, it’s a lot to ask from everyone in the organization.

They say that too much of anything is not good. In 2017 and beyond, the Yankees will test that theory, hoping to prove it wrong.