The New York Yankees like to play with their 40-man roster the way a picky toddler plays with their food. Everything seems haphazard and pieces appear mobile, but somehow, everything has a purpose.
Once you're protected, you're very protected. When the Yankees select someone and give them a coveted 40-man spot, it's more than a tacit endorsement; that prospect has to do plenty wrong to be shucked off elsewhere (see Brooks Kriske).
That means that, when considering possible promotions for the Yankees this season, the 40-man roster is the Bible. Other top prospects could potentially worm their way to the bigs and carve out roles -- look for Will Warren as a spot starter down the stretch and Clayton Beeter as a possible relief option, if he stays lights-out.
The team will absolutely defer to players who are already on the 40-man, though, and some of the relievers they've just added could ride the Scranton Shuttle all summer long. As things stand now, these three important players don't have an overwhelming chance at making the Opening Day roster, but once that door is open, they'll seize the opportunity.
3 Yankees players who won't make Opening Day roster, but you'll see them midseason
Greg Weissert, RHP
Weissert had a wild ride in MLB action last summer when he was promoted to a spiraling Yankees team, intended to be the pitching version of the sparky Oswaldo Cabrera. His MLB debut featured significant control problems in Oakland and ended with Aaron Judge blocking the dugout camera so his teammate could wallow in piece.
It wasn't too long, though, before fans learned why Weissert had been The Chosen One weeks earlier. His sweeping slider is the kind of freakish pitch you can't teach, and it helped him rack up 70 Ks in just 48 innings at Triple-A last season, where he maintained a 1.69 ERA and 0.90 WHIP. No disrespect, but some effective pitchers look like ... well, familiar pitchers. You watch them and you go, "Yeah, sure. I get it. Doesn't pop, though." Weissert pops. His breaking stuff is kooky, and he clearly has elite command of it more often than not, based on his minor-league track record.
It doesn't seem as if he has the inside track to an MLB roster spot on Opening Day, though, especially since team favorite Albert Abreu -- who was reacquired and "fixed" last summer -- will be exposed to the masses as soon as he's demoted to the minors. Weissert ended 2022 with an unsightly and unfortunate 5.56 ERA, but that's the penalty that comes with only throwing 11.1 innings and allowing three earned runs in a third of an inning in your debut, followed by another tough time at the Trop a few weeks later.
While the right-hander probably won't be in the 'pen to start the season, the way the team pushed the "Weissert Button" in 2022 indicates he'll be among their first calls when they have a trouble spot in the bigs, and we're betting he'll be more comfortable next time he's asked to put out a few fires.