So who’s it going to be? Opening Day is barely over a week away and the New York Yankees are going to be faced with key roster decisions before their matchup against the Boston Red Sox in the Bronx.
Marwin Gonzalez, who was signed to a minor-league deal this offseason, has now created even more of a roster crunch due to his performance in spring training.
Before you say anything, we know it’s spring training. But the Yankees also don’t have true backup options for shortstop, third base and first base — all of which Gonzalez can play (and has played this month). Gonzalez’s versatility would take pressure off a number of other guys.
And then there’s his offensive showing thus far. In just four games, the former Houston Astro is 4-for-9 with three home runs and eight RBI. That’s the most RBI on the team and just one home run shy of leader Kyle Higashioka.
The sentiment around the team’s beat writers suggest Gonzalez will make the Opening Day roster, which will be 28 active players.
Before Gonzalez’s arrival, the projected roster crunch was a lot more self-explanatory. Now? Well, who’s going to lose their spot?
Who is Marwin Gonzalez going to kick off the Yankees’ Opening Day roster?
The active roster is at 33 right now, meaning six players will either get optioned or designated for assignment if Gonzalez gets the nod. Some might imagine the following group of guys hardly has a guaranteed spot:
- Deivi Garcia (1 option remaining)
- Luis Gil (1 option remaining)
- Michael King (2 options remaining)
- Ron Marinaccio (definitely getting optioned)
- Stephen Ridings (3 options remaining)
- Clarke Schmidt (2 options remaining)
- JP Sears (definitely getting optioned)
- Tim Locastro (1 option remaining)
- Miguel Andújar (1 option remaining)
Factor in Ender Inciarte possibly joining the party due to his versatility and lefty bat, and there could be an even tighter situation.
That means, at most, three of those above names will be with the Bombers on April 7 against Boston. Our guess? King is definitely making it. Then it comes down to one starting pitcher and likely one more outfielder. Is it Locastro or Inciarte? Will it be Gil, Garcia or Schmidt? Let’s go with King, Locastro and Gil.
There’s a reality in which Yankees fans don’t get to see Garcia and Schmidt in the early going, which is likely for the best since they could work some stuff out at Triple-A. As for Andújar, expect a trade, because there’s no spot for him anywhere. Meanwhile, Sears and Marinaccio will be stashed on the 40-man with Ridings’ future unclear due to his current injury. To make room for an NRI like Gonzalez, someone’s going to have to be DFA’d or dealt. Will it be a longtime liability like Andújar or a promising reliever like Ridings, whom the Yankees could risk losing forever.
That leaves other guys on the 40-man, like Estevan Florial, Jeisson Rosario, and Domingo Germán in danger of getting squeezed off in the next phase of roster adjustments. That’s a lot of scenarios to consider, so sit back and keep pondering for the next week or so.