Before you know it, the New York Yankees Opening Day roster will be set in stone and the first pitch will be thrown on April 1.
But for now, we’re debating who will be among the final 26 men heading to the Bronx in a couple of weeks, and there certainly is a fruitful conversation to be had.
However, just because someone doesn’t make the Opening Day roster doesn’t mean they won’t be contributing for the duration of the season. It’s a grueling 162-game campaign and after last year’s 60-game sprint, almost every team will need all hands on deck.
It’ll be no different for the Bombers, who need all the help they can get year in and year out due to injuries and other unforeseen instances. This is probably the most World Series hype the Yankees have gotten in quite some time, too, so expect a ton of players to come through those doors from April to October.
Here are three Yankees who won’t make the Opening Day roster, but will contribute in 2021.
3. Michael King
Nothing against Michael King, but the emergence of Nick Nelson and the fact that Luis Cessa and Jonathan Loaisiga have been baked into the Opening Day roster doesn’t really help his case. Though Zack Britton’s injury has freed up a spot on the roster, the signings of Justin Wilson and Darren O’Day have made it harder for fringe pitchers to state their case.
King’s been solid this spring and it’s clear he’s working through some things as he looks to refine his stuff, but Nelson out-performed him in 2020 and the aforementioned guys have a significant leg up on him. He still needs to work on his control and avoid those blowup innings that contribute to his inflated ERA.
Across nine innings in spring training, King has allowed four earned runs on six hits and five walks, while striking out just six. He’s also hit two batters. It doesn’t help that Loaisiga, Nelson, Domingo German and Deivi Garcia have been lights out, either.
But the need for arms in 2021 will be greater than ever, and since King is knocking on the door of MLB anyway, he’ll be shuttled to and from Triple-A whenever somebody hits the injured list or when there’s a doubleheader and an extra guy is needed.
You’ll see plenty of King in 2021, just not on April 1.