According to Yankees insider Brendan Kuty, the team isn't done maneuvering, even after setting their Opening Day roster.
They still have some unfinished business, and have decided to lobby the league for a rather large change.
While no other MLB teams are running into the same issue, and it's definitely a Yankees-created problem, the Bombers are running out of jersey numbers, having retired 22 in all. Many of the most appealing numbers have been frozen and framed; Anthony Volpe's lucky to be wearing No. 11, and nearly got stuck with No. 77, an awkward Mickey Mantle homage if ever there was one.
The Yankees' solution? Take numbers away from managers and coaches, who look relatively silly in them anyway and usually cover up their jerseys with jackets/hoodies. Reportedly, luminaries like Buck Showalter and AJ Hinch are on board. Aaron Boone? Also on board, saying he'd feel silly not surrendering his number if asked.
But, included in Kuty's piece is another nugget. It turns out the Yankees actually have 25 untouchable numbers, at the moment. So ... what are the other three?
Which Yankees jersey numbers are mysteriously 'out of circulation'?
This is a surprisingly difficult question on the surface, mostly considering many of the Yankees' ceremonial "faux-retired" numbers have recently been handled. Paul O'Neill's No. 21 laid untouched for years; when reliever LaTroy Hawkins was handed it for a brief stint in 2008, there was significant backlash. But now O'Neill's number is formally retired, thanks to a ceremony in August 2022.
Similarly, Alex Rodriguez's No. 13 was off limits for several years until Joey Gallo adopted the curse in 2021. Has it been placed back into the mothballs, serving as a fourth off-limits number?
No. 51 has been formally retired for Bernie Williams; ditto No. 46 for Andy Pettitte and No. 20 for Jorge Posada. Hideki Matsui's No. 55 is worn by free agent addition Carlos Rodón, and was recently worn by Domingo Germán. Willie Randolph and Mel Stottlemyre's No. 30 was recently worn by David Robertson, though it's no longer in circulation. Mike Mussina's No. 35 sits on Clay Holmes' back.
It seems likely we won't see a No. 13 or 30 anytime soon, unless Jennifer Garner is in attendance at the Stadium. According to Kuty, though, the only formal "retirees" are two recently-departed Yankees stars in CC Sabathia's No. 52 and Masahiro Tanaka's No. 19. The third one? No. 69. Too goofy.
But if the Yankees' initiative passes, No. 17 should soon be available permanently. Who knows? Maybe their prickliness will lead to No. 28.