The New York Yankees are about to experience the flip side of being decimated by injuries midway through the season. Eventually, some of those guys return (some, not all), and you’re forced to eject someone who’s become a key contributor to a potential postseason roster in the interim.
Some players started 2022 as fill-ins and they’ll end it the same way. Miguel Andújar, Tim Locastro, Estevan Florial, and Ryan Weber will all get thanked for their service, and might even get to pop champagne after a postseason spot is clinched if the timing is right, but all four players will be casualties of a forthcoming massive roster crunch.
But a few cases … are tougher.
There are some Yankees who’ve been around for nearly the entire 2022 season, filling an important role, would could get bumped off the playoff roster — or the roster altogether. There are some Yankees who would survive on talent alone, but whose minor-league options could send them back to purgatory — hey, it’s happened plenty of times earlier this season. And there are some Yankees who just flat-out should not be around in October … but will they wriggle their way back to the surface anyway?
These four Yankees are in the most danger of losing their regular gigs once several key players — from Zack Britton and Scott Effross to DJ LeMahieu and Anthony Rizzo — all return to make an October impact.
These 4 Yankees will lose their roles before 2022 MLB Playoffs
4. Greg Weissert
This all depends on what you think Greg Weissert’s job was in 2022 — and, frankly, it’s kind of unclear what the Yankees’ answer to that question would be.
Was he just supposed to be a midseason fill-in, with all eyes firmly planted on 2023 no matter the results? In that case, he’s just doing his duty like Florial and Andújar. But did the Yankees envision Weissert potentially climbing up the trust tree before the postseason and working his way into one of the final roster spots? Based on their usage of the slider-heavy righty, it kind of seemed like they thought he might be up for the long haul.
And Weissert’s nasty. Pitching Ninja nasty. He just hasn’t quite put enough quality outings together to survive the likely upcoming bullpen roster purge, ahead of the additions of Scott Effross, Zack Britton, Aroldis Chapman, and possibly Miguel Castro.
His first three appearances came on a tough west coast swing, and featured one hell of a debut in Oakland, followed by some mop-up work to get his feet wet, followed by an essential pair of shutout innings after Jameson Taillon was struck with a liner and the pitching plan went haywire. So far, so good as a desperation fill-in.
Then came a rough appearance in the 9-0 drubbing at the Trop (which featured Marwin Gonzalez on the mound), followed by four straight traditional high-leverage outings: 2-2 game against the Twins, extra innings against the Twins, 2-2 game against the Twins again, and an opportunity to bail out Lucas Luetge early in Sunday’s bullpen game. All told, he’s whiffed nine in eight innings with a 1.25 WHIP. He’s been good! But he’s been 2023 good.
Weissert will not have a playoff roster spot this season unless things change drastically. Maybe that was the expectation all along. But it seemed like the Yankees could’ve been swayed otherwise.