The New York Yankees have had a few bumps along the road to crafting a 26-man Opening Day roster, as well as a few extremely welcome surprises. But when the dust settles, who'll snag the final few roster spots before the curtain rises on 2023? And who'll be left playing in the NIT in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre?
In honor of March Madness, the Yankees intend to make several of you very mad when they present their final Opening Day roster. One of your favorite shortstops will win the starting job; the other will be demoted to the minors to increase their reps. One of your favorite outfielders who's "way better than Hicks" will be left out in the cold, DFA'd as Hicks' reign continues. And while there's a chance Isiah Kiner-Falefa will be traded to help solve an infield logjam, his recent center field work hints he'll be this roster's $6 million 26th man.
While the bullpen will shuffle all year long and Carlos Rodón/Harrison Bader/Lou Trivino/Tommy Kahnle will eventually be healthy (well, maybe not Kahnle), these three players will likely take advantage of those injuries to sneak onto the final roster by the skin of their teeth.
The players on the other side of the bubble? Better luck next year. Get better recruits and install a stronger system.
3 Players Who Will Be Left Off Yankees Opening Day Roster, and 3 Who'll Sneak On
Last Three on Yankees Roster: Jimmy Cordero, RHP
The Kahnle injury timeline, which featured a recent setback, combined with the Trivino elbow issue, should get Jimmy Cordero onto the roster, despite a few spring stumbles as the malaise of March begins to set in.
The Yankees have long coveted Cordero, and waited by his side as he completed his rehab from Tommy John surgery suffered during his time with the White Sox. He throws the near-100 MPH sinker the Yanks have favored in all their recent unfamiliar relief acquisitions, and the 31-year-old doesn't have much left to prove in the minors. If the Yankees think they've unlocked him, they're going to let him loose.
The Kahnle/Trivino injuries, along with the rotation shuffle that added Clarke Schmidt to that quintet, all but assured Albert Abreu's role; he was probably the last guy in the bullpen before all this went down. Now, there's also room for Cordero, as well as one additional reliever...