The Yankees took decisive action on Tuesday ahead of the 6:00 PM EST deadline to protect eligible prospects from the Rule 5 Draft, adding righty Clayton Beeter and catcher Agustin Ramírez to the 40-man roster.
Ramírez's addition was somewhat surprising, but even more notably, the Yankees did not go the extra mile to create roster spots, despite currently harboring several non-tender candidates ahead of the next key date, Friday Nov. 17. Before the end of that day, they'll probably have either traded or cut two of the six current catchers on the 40-man. Instead of getting ahead of it, though, New York simply filled the final two spots on their 40-man, maxed it out, and threw caution to the wind. That'll probably result in a few more prospects being swiped for new opportunities in the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.
Just because you've lost someone in the Rule 5 doesn't mean you've lost them forever. In order for the poaching team to retain rights to the player they've taken, he has to remain on the roster for the entire season, not just through spring training. This stipulation has ruined many a gambit; we see you, Philadelphia Phillies, but there was no way you were sneaking Noah Song through the duration of 2023.
These three Yankees all have at least an outside chance to stick through the summer. Bullpen arms are always the likeliest to click -- and, even if they're struggling, a hopeless team can always "waste" a roster spot for an entire season just to continue a player's development the following year. That's how the Padres hid Luis Torrens for a full season when he'd just been a teenaged Yankees prospect minutes prior.
Yankee fans should expect to monitor these three players' tales all year long, though, because they probably won't be New York's property anymore after mid-December.
Yankees Rule 5 Draft: These 3 players should be gone
Matt Sauer, RHP
Though we've said this for multiple seasons now, it could finally be true this winter. Sauer's an injury risk waiting to pop, and somehow was not thieved following his career-best performance in 2022, highlighted by a 17-strikeout game at Double-A.
That gave the Yankees a second shot at watching him develop ... but, unfortunately, he remained overshadowed by names like Will Warren and Randy Vásquez, while being surpassed by breakouts like Jhony Brito, Chase Hampton and Drew Thorpe.
Sauer was still solid, working off his snapdragon curveball to strike out 93 men across 16 starts with a 3.41 ERA. The only issue? He covered just 74 innings in those 16 starts (17 outings). The righty was sent to the Arizona Fall League to showcase his stuff after the regular season, a sign of the Yankees' faith in him. That stint could also serve as a wakeup call to interested teams across the league, now that Sauer's been left unprotected again. This will probably -- finally -- be the year he departs.