Yankees: 3 non-roster invitees who could make the 2021 roster
By Adam Weinrib
The New York Yankees have an almost-set-in-stone roster as spring training commences in 2021 after signing Brett Gardner to a kiss-and-make-up deal for the fifth outfield spot.
Certainty is better than chaos! It’s hard to be angry about it.
But, especially in the weeks immediately prior to Gardner’s deal becoming official, the Yanks added a few intriguing non-guaranteed names who still have a fairly solid shot of making the roster.
Perhaps the team opts for a veteran over Mike Tauchman as the roster’s final outfielder?
Maybe (definitely) Tyler Wade, Mike Ford, Miguel Andújar and Thairo Estrada aren’t as secure in their standing as they believe themselves to be?
The bullpen depth chart certainly has some wiggle room in the middle. Are you prepared to guarantee me that Michael King and Nick Nelson are roster locks? I thought not.
We’re not prepared to speculate right now about any high-upside rookies or top prospects you’d love to see, but won’t. Sorry, but Luis Medina isn’t inching his way onto this team instead of a veteran with more cache. Jasson Dominguez isn’t making his professional baseball debut at the MLB level. These are things that won’t happen.
That said, the Yankees have more than a few interesting bench bats and ‘pen arms currently under control on minor-league deals who we’d like to see on the big-league roster at some point. Hopefully, they exhaust all options here instead of simply saying goodbye just before Opening Day.
3. Derek Dietrich
Derek Dietrich’s path to the Bronx looked, quite frankly, nearly assured before the Gardner addition. Blessed with extreme versatility and upper-deck power, the former Jacked Marlin could fill in at second, third, first, or the corner outfield spots.
Frankly, if the Yankees can find a way to keep him into the regular season, they likely will — unless he face-plants in the spring or finds himself facing down the Injury Bug in a dark alley. It makes more roster sense to carry the multi-positional Dietrich than it does to bring Tauchman north, in a vacuum.
If they slice Tauchman off the 26-man, though, they lose him. And that calculus will be top of mind for the Yankees.
Could the Yankees pick Derek Dietrich over Mike Tauchman?
Dietrich is certainly a “three true outcomes” hitter who slots in nicely in the modern game of baseball. His averages can be unsightly (.187 and .197 the past two seasons), but his OBPs are consistently 125-150 points above those bottom-feeding BAs, and his power is thunderous for a middle infielder. This is all not to mention he also brings excessive swagger, known as much for his low-hanging chains and exposed biceps as he is for his prodigious clout.
At the end of the day, if he performs well in spring training, the Yankees might have to choose between welcoming the New Nick Swisher to the dugout or losing him for nothing.