Yankees Cut And Slash: Major Roster Moves Made Today

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Yankees did what they had to do today in further trimming the number of players still in spring camp. The names are betting bigger, the impact on the team is becoming greater, and questions are being answered.

The Yankees portion of the Major League Transaction Wire looks like this for today, March 24.

Optioned RHP Luis Cessa to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (IL) and reassigned him to minor league camp. Reassigned INF Ji-Man Choi, LHP Jason Gurka and OFs Clint Frazier, Dustin Fowler and Billy McKinney to minor league camp.

Of note are those missing from the list of those sent down. Bryan Mitchell and Jordan Montgomery, both of whom are competing for spots in the rotation and have shined in recent outings are still in camp battling to make the squad that goes North. Of note also is that Cessa is no longer in the rotation mix.

Aaron Judge is alive and kicking as well with the Yankees still undecided about giving the right field spot to Aaron Hicks over Judge. And Rob Refsnyder also survived this cut.

Outtakes and Initial Thoughts

Cessa dug his hole, and he has no one to blame but himself. His name was always in there as one of the five, but as Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman said in the beginning – there will be competition for these spots. Montgomery and Mitchell both have pitched better. Case closed.

Dustin Fowler and Billy McKinney both developed into fan favorites over the course of the spring, and while their demotion is not a total shock, it is somewhat disappointing. Unless they are used as trade bait, both would seem to have stable futures with the Yankees, but just not yet.

More from Yanks Go Yard

Clint Frazier, much like Gleyber Torres, was pre-ordained by Brian Cashman to begin the season at the Triple-A level. Thus, no matter what he did in Spring Training would be for naught. But make no mistake, Frazier is destined to be part of the Yankees starting outfield as soon as a spot can be cleared for him. Again, just not now.

Both Ji-Man Choi, and Jason Gurka never figured into the Yankees plan for this season but could be among the first call-ups as 10-day fill-ins when a player goes on the Disabled List.

As It Plays Out, There’s No Mystery At All

While many of us had some fun this spring juxtaposing players and developing favorites to make the team in 2017, the reality is that the Yankees simply don’t  have room this season for any changes that would include the players we adopted.

And much as they might like to give, for instance, a player like McKinney a chance to show what he can do in center field in 2017, the stars are not aligned for that to happen. Almost any other year, probably, but not this year.

Yankees Rotation The Remaining Mystery

This leaves the composition of the starting rotation as the most interesting and significant move the Yankees have left to make before April 2 when the team travels to Tampa to open the season.

Between Montgomery, Mitchell, and James Karprielian, the organization will decide which of the three replaces Cessa and whether or not Luis Severino is still in the mix for a spot. If he’s not, then conceivably, two of the three could join the rotation to begin the season.

Karprielian has to be considered a longshot since he is coming back from arm surgery. But if the Yankees want to take a chance believing him when he says he’s ready, the choices for the team get more complex.

Other News: Yankees Beat The Phillies (Again!)

The Yankees beat the Philadelphia Phillies in a squeaker by a score of 3-2 at Steinbrenner Field this afternoon.

CC Sabathia made a start and turned in a credible performance allowing two earned runs over 5 1/3 innings and lowering his spring ERA to 6.45.

Aaron Judge threw a runner out at home plate, and Luis Severino turned in three perfect innings striking out five.

The Toronto Blue Jays (9-14) visit the Yankees (20-7) on Saturday for a contest scheduled to start at 1:05 p.m. EST.