Yankees accidentally ignite free agent conspiracy theory with clubhouse reveal

2024 BBWAA Dinner
2024 BBWAA Dinner / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

Despite significant budgetary constraints, the New York Yankees might not be done adding in free agency just yet. Source? Their own locker room.

While 2023 splash Carlos Rodón and rebound-seeker Nestor Cortes Jr. reported to camp early, and the rest of their pitcher and catcher teammates joined them on Wednesday, several massive names remain unclaimed as the season threatens to approach.

Lefty starters Blake Snell -- last year's NL Cy Young winner! -- and Jordan Montgomery don't know where they'll be pitching in 2024 and beyond. Third baseman Matt Chapman and outfielder Cody Bellinger also don't seem any closer to picking a new squad. All four players are -- wait, WHAT?! -- represented by super-agent Scott Boras, who squeezed last year's Rodón deal out of the Yankees, but couldn't be bothered to do much countering in New York's short-lived Snell pursuit this winter..

Now, the Yankees' five-man rotation seems full, with Cole, Rodón, Cortes, Marcus Stroman and Clarke Schmidt rounding out the corps. Several impressive young players like Will Warren and Clayton Beeter are slotted in behind them. Pending injury, the Yankees should be good to go on that front. Unless ... their brand-new clubhouse at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, revealed on the Yankees' Twitter feed Wednesday morning, has something to say about that?

Yankees new clubhouse layout for spring training may have ignited free agency rumors

Looking spiffy! Multiple beat writers have already indicated this is a massive step up, and the Single-A Tampa Yankees should thank their lucky stars they play in the same complex. Some minor-leaguers' dugout floors are Loose Wood Boards. But ... wait a minute ... what's going on with the rotation's locker layout?

An empty locker spotted next to both Cole and Cortes, huh? Rodón is unaccounted for. He's getting one of them, probably over Cole's shoulder. But who gets the empty spot next to Nasty Nestor? A non-roster invitee who makes an early splash? Or a big name who's yet to be claimed?

Montgomery, in particular, has been rumored to be considering shorter-term deals in recent days (though not with Boston, because he'd rather aim higher). He should not have to do that, coming off a World Series run in which he played the starring role, but ... this is the world we live in.

If Rodón wants to slide down, the former Yankee would look pretty good next to the ace on a two-year deal. Just saying.