New York Yankees Opening Day is just around the corner (rain pending), and as they get ready to take on the Boston Red Sox (rain pending), Brian Cashman and the gang had a few final roster decisions to make before finalizing everything for Thursday (rain pending).
Who’d round out the pitching staff? Would the team go with a three- or four-man bench? Would Tim Locastro give way to … Brett Gardner?
Though there’s still some sort of motion yet to be completed (40-man spots must be cleared…), Cashman and Co. are confidently going north with 16 pitchers and just three positional backups.
According to sources, the team informed relievers Ron Marinaccio and (for now) Clarke Schmidt that they’d made the team on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after also elevating JP Sears.
Add in non-roster invitee Marwin Gonzalez (who, again, still must be added with a 40-man move), and that makes 28 men to begin the campaign.
Perhaps most noteworthy is Marinaccio, though, a diehard Yankee fan from birth who displayed serious filth in both 2021 across the minors and in camp this spring.
Yankees Opening Day roster features Ron Marinaccio, Clarke Schmidt
And so, following Todd Frazier’s retirement, the Circle of Toms River lives on.
Out of all the kids, Marinaccio was the odds-on favorite to land a roster spot entering spring. After all, his routine wouldn’t need to be messed with like Schmidt’s or Sears’, two stretched-out starters trying to acclimate themselves to middle relief.
Marinaccio, on the other hand, is a regulation gas-thrower who whiffed a remarkable 105 men in 66.1 innings last summer with a 2.04 ERA. If the Yankees hadn’t protected him in last fall’s 40-man roster shuffle, he unequivocally would’ve been poached by another needy team (you know, if the Rule 5 Draft had actually happened).
Though he’ll open 2022 among the “last men in the ‘pen,” odds are high he’ll have a swift, Stephen Ridings-style impact once he’s allowed to cameo in big-league action.
Ironically, Ridings himself may be the corresponding move for Gonzalez, after both Tim Locastro and Miguel Andújar were demoted rather than cut. If his mysterious injury can’t sort itself out quickly, either he or Ben Rortvedt could be placed on the 60-Day IL to kick the problem down the road a bit.
Regardless of the implications, Marinaccio making the roster is a massive win for the on-field product and for good old nostalgia.