3 Yankees DFA/trade candidates who could lose 40-man roster spot before Opening Day

Adam Weinrib
New York Yankees Photo Day
New York Yankees Photo Day / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages
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The New York Yankees are lucky this spring in that most of their injuries have come with clear 40-man roster contingency plans lined up behind them.

Of course, they're also not so lucky because they've seen player after player in the Opening Day plans go down. But that's to be expected for this franchise.

Among the trouble spots are the rotation, where Domingo Germán and Clarke Schmidt have gone from insurance pieces to Nos. 4 and 5 starters. The bullpen could use a few new names, considering Schmidt has vacated his role and Lou Trivino/Tommy Kahnle are both down for the count.

There's also the Yankees' top trouble spot in center field, where they've been impressed by Rafael Ortega at the plate, someone who has a big-league track record of success and can help fill in for Harrison Bader (Ortega had a 121 OPS+ just two seasons ago in 2021).

To get him on the roster, though, the Yankees will have to knock someone off their 40-man. Ben Rortvedt is an obvious 60-Day IL candidate, which could do it; you'd have to imagine the severity of aneurysm surgery will have him on the shelf for longer than the "one month" that was initially floated.

Oh, yeah, and did we mention they might need a catcher if Jose Trevino's wrist issue lingers? Nick Ciuffo, come on down. But who does he replace?

Beyond Rortvedt, though (let's say he's healthy, for the purposes of this experiment), there are a few other trades/DFAs the Yankees can pull off to get fresh arms and outfielders.

3 DFAs/trades Yankees could make to open up 40-man roster spots

3. Estevan Florial

Is Estevan Florial going to be the Yankees' center fielder on Opening Day? What about on the bench? Probably not? Unless the Yankees are dead-set on holding onto him after rarely giving him a chance these past few years (as his bat came up empty in every big-league cameo), odds aren't in his favor.

Florial's out of minor-league options, so if the Yankees choose Ortega or Willie Calhoun over him for the 26th roster spot, he'll have to be placed on waivers. The team's only choices with Florial are to play him or to DFA him to plop another outfielder in his roster spot.

The Yankees have been very clear this spring that they don't want to make roster decisions based only on Spring Training results, but Florial's offensive struggles have been tough to ignore; he's 4-for-29, although he's picked up a homer and five stolen bases.

He's pled his case recently, stating, "I know that I can be as good as anyone." But he doesn't have much longer to prove that on the field, especially in the wake of a 3-for-35 stint during an extended big-league shot in 2022.

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