Yankees: 40-Man Roster Crunch Makes Them Explosive At The Deadline

New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman. (Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman. (Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports) /
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The Yankees house has room for only forty beds. They’d like to build an addition, but MLB rules do not permit that. This means that some big names will be forced to sleep elsewhere by the end of 2017, or perhaps, even sooner.

The Yankees will soon find themselves as victims of circumstance, which stems from the glut of talent in their organization, and the resulting challenge of deciding on the 40 players they protect versus the ones they’ll be losing when the Rule 5 Draft takes place in December.

And although you might have seen the word December and thought to yourself about how far away that is, the planning for the Yankees begins right now. And some of the fallout from that planning will have immediate consequences on the team as currently constructed.

We’ll get to that in a minute, but first, let’s define what we’re talking about. The Rule 5 Draft is a good rule. It says that after a certain period, a player who is not added to his team’s 40-man roster becomes a free man and can be selected by another team in a special draft that is held on the last day of baseball’s annual winter meetings.

The rule prevents teams from hoarding players and ensures that all players get a fair shake from the team that originally drafted them. For this year, the draft will include high-school players drafted in 2013 and college players who were drafted in 2014.

Normally, this would not be a problem for the Yankees who, until recently, ignored their farm system in favor of signing the big free agents or trading away their minor league talent for an aging star who could help them now rather than later.

That’s all changed, though, and therefore some big changes are coming.