No, the New York Yankees are not about to non-tender these players or leave them unprotected.
But … with all the attention being paid to the Matt Olson trade talks that could theoretically clear a few players off the 40-man roster to help Brian Cashman protect a fleet of incoming prospects, all the latest rumors indicate it’ll be Oswald Peraza, Luke Voit and a few lower-level players heading to Oakland.
That’s only two players from the existing 40-man being mentioned in exchange for a single addition. Even if some prospects in need of protection also get shipped out, that won’t clear nearly enough room for everyone fans want saved from the Rule 5.
Hence, expect a few surprise trades ahead of the Nov. 19 deadline — especially since we’re hearing some buzz about opposing teams targeting our bullpen pieces. Yankees insider Bryan Hoch became the latest media member to bring that up on Jomboy Media’s Talkin’ Yanks feed on Tuesday afternoon.
Would the Yankees really weaken their bullpen? Aren’t they trying to form a super team over here? If a super team can’t close out a three-run game after the sixth inning, were they really ever super at all?
Relax. The Yanks aren’t interested in decimating their ‘pen, but … something must be done here. No theoretical trade is going to rid the Bombers of all of their roster problems, and they’ve got less than three days to sort everything out.
Honorable mentions go to the players whose fate is less difficult to sort out: Yoendrys Gomez, who’s been on the 40-man for years and affecting our lives very rarely. Nick Nelson, who did absolutely nothing to merit protection last year; if he becomes Garrett Whitlock, I’ll fume more than I did when actual Whitlock busted out. Zack Britton, we miss you and we love you, but he’s not pitching in 2022. What are we doing here?
Beyond those three names, don’t be surprised if you see these familiar ‘pen arms either traded or left unprotected.
These 3 Yankees relievers could be traded before Friday, Nov. 19.
3. Albert Abreu
You can feel the Albert Abreu breakout coming in 2022 if you watched as much of the bizarre 2021 Yankees as we did.
So, when you hear rumblings of rival executives trying to vulture our ‘pen options, the 26-year-old righty who’s still at the fringes of New York’s bullpen pecking order feels like a natural target.
After all, even after he showed the propensity to occasionally escape road jams with nerves of steel in his second (and much fuller) big league season, he still sits behind Aroldis Chapman, Jonathan Loaisiga, Clay Holmes, Chad Green, Wandy Peralta, and the newly-re-signed Joely Rodriguez on the depth chart. He’s exactly the kind of asset that the rest of the league is hoping the Yankees are undervaluing right now.
With New York’s roster crunch upon us, it doesn’t much matter if the Yanks have assessed Abreu properly or not. He’s a leading candidate to be sold off for two lower-level lottery ticket prospects who are far away from requiring 40-man protection. The flame-throwing righty should interest teams of all shapes and sizes, too, from contenders banking on an immediate breakout to faraway franchises that are really hoping to develop an asset or cornerstone of their own.
Abreu’s 2021 numbers were sullied by the worst outing you’ll ever see in Tampa in July, when the Rays ravaged him after Gerrit Cole exited and left him with a 32.00 ERA for the month. He rebounded, though (who wouldn’t?), to post a 2.51 ERA in August, featuring 17 strikeouts in 14.1 innings pitched, finally commanding the baseball and translating his top prospect pedigree.
From Arizona to San Francisco, we’d be willing to bet Abreu is drumming up a lot of interest. We’d also be willing to bet that Cashman could be coerced here.