Yankees make first semi-surprising prospect demotion of spring training

...but, also, you should've seen it coming.
2024 New York Yankees Spring Training
2024 New York Yankees Spring Training / New York Yankees/GettyImages

Early in camp, the Yankees took care of a good degree of their top prospect-related business, sending standout Spencer Jones to minor-league camp before the noise could get too loud and the momentum could turn.

Jones, lifting the ball with more regularity, was a revelation this spring, powering a 470-foot homer in his first official at-bat, driving two more out into the Tampa sky during Spring Breakout, and never swinging and missing prior to his demotion. Not even once.

Demoting Jones didn't absolve the Yankees of any of their difficult roster decisions, though. The slugger was never cracking the Opening Day roster, no matter how successful he was in the second halves of exhibition games. Oswald Peraza, injured before the Yankees had to say yes or no to him, took another tough call off the board.

This spring's action has left the fifth starter role and several bullpen spots still available, with players like Luis Gil, Clayton Beeter, Will Warren and Nick Burdi battling it out for recognition. And that final bench spot? It'll likely go to a versatile infielder who isn't currently in the system.

It will not go to Everson Pereira, called up to spark the Yankees unsuccessfully last summer. Trent Grisham will be the team's fourth outfielder, pending injury. Oswaldo Cabrera will likely be their fifth. Pereira will get everyday reps in Scranton, and will also get potentially dangled at the trade deadline.

Yankees demote outfield prospect Everson Pereira to Triple-A

Pereira, doing himself very few favors this spring, went 6-for-32 with a single tattooed home run during Grapefruit League play. Results in March aren't everything, but when you're already likely to be on the outside looking in, they can be quite determinative.

Now, Pereira will get the regular reps both he and Peraza need down at Triple-A. Unfortunately, only one of those two players will start the season off on something resembling the right foot.

New York's fifth starter showdown and completely up-in-the-air bullpen will get more attention down the stretch of spring, as the Yankees also seek outside help for that coveted final bench role. There's a world where Pereira factored into all that, but that world peeled off from reality last September, when the hard-hitting primary left fielder couldn't get his footing in the bigs, leading indirectly to the inclusion of Grisham in the blockbuster Juan Soto trade.

Surprising move, only if you weren't reading months' worth of tea leaves.

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