The New York Yankees have a tightly-packed roster, and surviving on the active roster for the entire season is near-impossible for players at the edges of the 40-man.
The Bombers need spot starts from players like JP Sears to keep their frontline starters fresh. Eventually, they’ll be adding Aroldis Chapman back to the big-league roster. Jonathan Loaisiga, too. Maybe even Zack Britton. And don’t forget their potential trade deadline additions.
Remember the first few weeks of the season when Tim Locastro seemed indespensible as a pinch runner? Exactly. No one is safe. Even fan favorite former top prospects who climbed a big mountain to finally make an impact in the Bronx.
And so, the emotional axe came down on Tuesday for left-hander Manny Bañuelos. Once a major part of the Yankees future, it took a sterling spring for Bañuelos to finally get a chance to contribute in pinstripes — and contribute he did, as an absolute long shot, whiffing 8 men in 8.2 innings while registering a 2.16 ERA and 2.29 FIP.
Sadly, most of that was accomplished when a long man was needed — and nothing is less necessary than a permanent long man.
When Sears was promoted on Tuesday to give the rest of the rotation a breather, Bañuelos was sent off the roster through waivers.
Yankees DFA Manny Bañuelos, promote JP Sears
This particular roster crunch came thanks to Albert Abreu’s return last week; he, too, cannot be demoted without being DFA’d. Based on his outing Monday, and the Yankees’ intel, they likely believe he has higher upside than the left-hander they’re risking the loss of on Tuesday.
If Bañuelos clears waivers, he’ll head back to Scranton and remain in the Yankees’ system, but would have to once again be gifted a 40-man spot to return to the majors with the Bombers. If someone claims him, though, he’ll no longer be Yankees property.
Of course, Bañuelos won’t be the only difficult decision en route; Ron Marinaccio has only allowed one hit since returning in mid-May, but he’ll probably go down for Loaisiga eventually ( he has options, people). When Chapman returns, Sears will slide back down the ladder. For Britton (or Frankie Montas at the deadline?), the move is anyone’s guess.
Bañuelos’ departure was inevitable. All that’s left is to hope it’s not permanent, or to thank him for what he provided.