When the Yankees make their Andruw Jones signing official, they will have to make an accompanying move to open a spot on the 40-man. Most of the players on the roster are there for an obvious reason. They’re either premier young players or have an obvious role to play in New York, and this group won’t even enter the discussion of who to drop from the roster.
Clearly staying on the roster: Dellin Betances, Andrew Brackman, A.J. Burnett, Joba Chamberlain, Pedro Feliciano, Phil Hughes, Boone Logan, Sergio Mitre, Hector Noesi, Ivan Nova, Mariano Rivera, Dave Robertson, CC Sabathia, Rafael Soriano, Francisco Cervelli, Russell Martin, Jorge Posada, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Brandon Laird, Eduardo Nunez, Ramiro Pena, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, Melky Mesa, Nick Swisher
Beyond that group, there are a few who might not jump out like the ones listed above, but they’re clearly a step ahead of some of the alternatives. They’ve either already played a role in the big leagues or help to fill a legitimate hole in the upper levels of the minor league system (specifically left-handed pitching, relief pitching and outfield depth).
No reason to lose them: Steve Garrison, Ryan Pope, Colin Curtis, Greg Golson, Kevin Russo
For me, that leaves seven candidates who could fall off the roster and open a spot for Jones. Most of these are pretty much unknowns within the Yankees system, having never played in the organization. The roster might be full, but in a lot of ways it’s also wide open with spots that could open without the Yankees taking a significant hit.
LHP Robert Fish: Rule 5 pick whose slim chances of making the roster became even smaller with the addition of Feliciano. Dropping Fish from the roster would likely have no impact on the big league roster, but there is something to be said for having this option in spring training, especially as an injury contngency plan.
LHP Damaso Marte: I’m fairly certain that players can’t be put on the 60-day disabled list just yet, which means Marte has to either stay on the roster or be designated for assignment. The fact he won’t take up a spot when the year starts makes me think the Yankees will keep him around for now and try to rehab him back for a late-season addition.
RHP Romulo Sanchez: The big, hard-throwing right-hander could compete for a long relief job this spring — and his raw stuff is pretty impressive — but he’s also out of options, meaning he has to make the team to pass through waivers. If the Yankees don’t think he can make the big league club, they could drop him from the roster now. Otherwise, they might as well keep him around to give him a look.
RHP Brian Schlitter: Claimed earlier this month out of the Cubs organization, Schlitter had solid numbers in the hitter friendly PCL last season, and he has options. For a minor league system that’s lost some upper-level relievers, Schlitter seems to fit as solid minor league depth, but he’s also the most recent 40-man addition and it’s hard to say just how highly the Yankees actually think of him.
RHP Daniel Turpen: The other Rule 5 pick is in the same boat as Fish: He seems like a long-shot to make the roster, but there’s a lot to be said for bringing him to camp as a contingency plan should someone else get hurt. The Yankees could lose him and we’d all probably forget his name within a few weeks, but the Yankees think there’s legitimate talent there and might want to get a closer look.
INF Reegie Corona: Granted, I don’t have all of the scouting information that’s in front of the Yankees, but Corona would be my pick to dump from the roster to open a spot for Jones. That’s not to knock him as a player, but he did hit only .238 last year and suffered a pretty serious injury, one that will keep him from opening this season on an active roster. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him clear waivers, and even if he’s lost, Corona is somewhere behind Nunez, Pena, Russo and Laird for an infield call-up.
OF Jordan Parraz: I wouldn’t expect this one to be dumped from the roster, but Parraz was an offseason waiver claim, and my guess is the Yankees prefer the outfielders they know — Golson, Curtis and Russo — as minor league depth. That could make Parraz expendable, but I’d be surprised to see him go. The Yankees outfield is thin in the upper levels, and that probably gives Parraz real value that’s worth keeping.
Associated Press photo of Marte