Yankees: What roster moves are next after Brett Gardner, Justin Wilson signings?

Albert Abreu #87 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Albert Abreu #87 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

While Brett Gardner’s return likely ended the heavy lifting for the New York Yankees until the trade deadline, general manager Brian Cashman still needs to clear space on the 40-man roster.

In fact, two moves need to be made in order to create room for Gardner and reliever Justin Wilson, who signed with the Bombers earlier this week. Nothing’s been announced because we don’t know the corresponding transactions.

So what will the Yankees do?

There are plenty of options, so let’s explore a few that might make sense. We’ll only look at one that has somewhat significant implications.

Expect the official announcements to come at the end of the weekend as everything gets sorted out. Remember, we have no financial details on Wilson’s contract and still have limited information with Gardy’s deal.

In terms of what moves could be made, the Yankees can designate a couple of players for assignment, option some guys to the minor leagues, or make a trade (the least likely).

Let’s go through these in order and take a look at which are most likely.

Yankees players to designate for assignment

If the Bombers are going to do this, the two obvious options that stand out are outfielder Greg Allen, who was acquired in a trade with the San Diego Padres this offseason, or pitcher Albert Abreu, who’s arguably done the least to stand out among the team’s starters and relievers. Abreu is also out of minor league options, so that forces the organization’s hand in some way.

And given that the Yankees are adding another outfielder in Gardner and another pitcher in Wilson, these feel like the most reasonable and simple decisions the team could make without jumping through hoops or altering the status quo. If players are let go, these two will likely be atop the list.

Yankees players to option to the minor leagues

Plenty of guys on the 40-man roster have remaining options that would allow the Yankees to send them down to the minor leagues and protect them from getting poached from another team. Let’s take a look below, looking at actual realistic players who could be optioned:

  • Deivi Garcia
  • Clarke Schmidt
  • Domingo German
  • Jonathan Loaisiga
  • Mike Ford
  • Thairo Estrada
  • Miguel Andújar
  • Estevan Florial
  • Michael King
  • Brooks Kriske
  • Nick Nelson

All of those players have at least one option remaining and could help the Yankees free up a roster spot.

Yankees players who could be traded to create 40-man roster space

This is by far the least likely option, but Cashman has surprised fans time and time again. These guys could all feasibly be dealt in a package for another major leaguer or perhaps prospects to stash down the road.

  • Mike Tauchman
  • Yoendrys Gomez
  • Alexander Vizcaino
  • Luis Gil
  • Oswald Peraza
  • Luis Medina
  • Miguel Andújar
  • Estevan Florial

We’ll leave it at that, since that group could either bring back value for the Yankees or allow them to deal from a position of surplus. Gomez, Vizcaino, Gil, Pereza, Medina and Florial could be of the former while Tauchman, Andújar and Florial could be of the latter. Gomez, Vizcaino, Gil, Peraza and Medina were all added to the 40-man roster to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft and must remain there for the entire 2021 season, according to the league’s protocols. They cannot be optioned unless the Yankees want to offer them back into the Rule 5 Draft.

Keep your eyes peeled for the incoming corresponding moves that should finalize the 2021 roster.