Did you know the New York Yankees had an open 40-man roster spot to work with? It’s true! The rarity of all rarities silently emerged over the past week when the team unceremoniously activated Ryan LaMarre and then sent him straight to the sun, DFA’ing the outfielder in one fell swoop.
Remember a month ago when LaMarre was the team’s best center field option after Aaron Hicks’ injury, then hurt himself running in Texas, throwing the Yankees’ plans all out of wack?
Remember when he’s kind of still their best minor-league center field option? Yikes.
Regardless, the Yankees — a team full of holes and a franchise that keeps 40-man spots precious — secretly created another pathway to playing time, just a week and a half after removing Mike Ford to give Hard Hittin’ Chris Gittens a chance. So what comes next?
As we see it, there are three likely options for the roster spot…OK, four, but one’s incredibly boring.
The Yankees could add another piece of pitching depth to the 40-man in the interest of shuttling an extra body up and down. It could be old friend Adam Warren, who’s down at Triple-A working on a 2.45 ERA (and 1.47 WHIP). It could be ex-Marlins reliever Kyle Barraclough. It could even be lefty Matt Krook, a former Giants top pick who’s been newly promoted to Triple-A after burning through Somerset (44 Ks in 29.1 innings pitched).
OK, that’s not so boring, but it is predictable. Pitcher comes up, pitcher goes down. World keeps turning.
As for the other options? The way we see it, these three moves could all best utilize that 40-man spot by providing important extra depth to the big-league club as they try to turn a corner while undermanned.
These 3 options might be the Yankees’ best use of their 40-man roster spot.
Yankees 40-Man Roster Option: Trey Amburgey
We’ve discussed Amburgey’s case for promotion at length recently, but it still bears repeating (as Erik Kratz does every single day): the kid can hit.
If Amburgey played center field or batted lefty, there’s at least a solid chance he’d already be up, protected, and receiving reps in the Bronx. Instead, he’d be a round peg in.a square hole in center…but he is absolutely mashing.
Since we last spoke, he’s gotten his average up to .365 with a .402 OBP and 1.105 OPS in a small sample size at the highest level of the minors, which dwarfs the production of most Yankee outfielders.
We’re not sure we can glean much of anything from the usage patterns in the most recent series in Buffalo, but Clint Frazier was unearthed from the bench, hit a clutch game-winning, pinch-hit double in Game 1, then was never heard from him again. He’s been one of the worst-performing hitters in Major League Baseball, and perhaps his legendary bat speed returned for one night only, but it still seems to make more sense to give him regular plate appearances at Triple-A rather than truncated ones with the Bombers.
Frazier down, Amburgey up is one possible usage of the roster spot.