Yankees: 3 non-roster invitees who could make the 2021 roster

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Jay Bruce #9 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

1. Jay Bruce

Imagine having Jay Bruce on your roster and considering him as the potential last man on the bench and nothing more? Unfathomable in 2018, reality now. Fun times.

In 2017, the midseason acquisition of Bruce was integral to the Indians’ playoff run, a sprint that never actually materialized, thanks to a Yankees-flavored upset. But as recently as 2019, Bruce was still an effortlessly powerful lefty bat, rocking 26 homers in 98 games between Seattle and Philadelphia.

Think about how gorgeous those liners to right would look nestling themselves in the short porch?

The Brett Gardner acquisition was probably the end of the road for Bruce’s shot at making the camp out of spring training, something the lefty likely saw coming when he inked his non-guaranteed pact.

How could Jay Bruce make the Yankees?

If the Bombers could keep Bruce at Triple-A Scranton, though, they’d be thrilled by that.

Even with Gardner blocking his path, though, it’s far from a longshot to imagine Bruce’s path to the Opening Day roster. If one of the team’s prototypical corner outfielders succumbs to injury over the next few weeks (knock on some extremely strong wood), he’s probably the first-in-line Plan B. He’s also probably already ahead of Mike Ford in the backup first base race.

As far back as Tauchman slid in 2020, Ford likely slid further.

If Bruce doesn’t perform at all in camp, no harm, no foul. But he’ll probably be a more effective hitter in the Bronx than in Tampa based on ballpark dimensions, so the Yankees will have to factor that in, too.