Edgar Barclay, RHP
Of all the players left unprotected, Edgar Barclay was the most surprising and probably the likeliest to be stolen.
After all, there's nobody easier to draft-and-stash than a reliever, and Barclay made it to Triple-A Scranton last summer at the age of 25. While the righty couldn't quite match his most effective season -- 2022 with Hudson Valley, when he whiffed 86 men in 67.1 innings, posting a 1.74 ERA -- he still held his own, finishing with 78.1 innings, 100 Ks, and a 3.91 ERA.
Most of the damage done to that ERA came at the highest level; Barclay maintained a 1.32 mark in 33 innings with Double-A Somerset before being battered to the tune of a 5.89 ERA with the RailRiders ... in 10 starts. Yup. The Barclay the Starter experiment was probably borne out of necessity, with so many spot starters being recalled to the Bronx on a weekly basis. It did not go fantastically, and will probably mercifully end wherever he lands next.
Barclay is almost a lock to be taken, as well as a near-lock to survive at his new home. Whether he thrives has yet to be determined. The Yankees have made their bed here, and know they can develop bullpen arms semi-effortlessly. They think they can do better than Barclay, and now the righty will have a chance to prove them wrong (please in the NL, please in the NL...).