“It’s going to cut into some aspect. There are only 40 spots. What are you going to do? … We’re going to have to make tough calls that are going to affect good players. That’s life in the big city, at least this particular year.”
Those tough calls included taking a gamble by releasing David Adams, giving up on the low-risk investment into David Aardsma, and today designating for assignment a true left-on-left specialist in Clay Rapada. Why Rapada? Because there really wasn’t a pain-free alternative. The Yankees could have…
Designated Cody Eppley… But that would have solved nothing. In the process of losing Eppley, the Yankees would have opened a hole on the 25-man roster. And who would have filled it? Unless your answer is Brett Marshall, Francisco Rondon, Dellin Betances or Nik Turley, the Yankees would have been forced to DFA yet another player on top of Eppley.
Put Mark Teixeira on the 60-day… But that would have guaranteed losing Teixeira for two months, and right now, the Yankees are still hopeful that he’ll miss only one month. Teixeira is scheduled to visit the doctor on Monday, and there’s a chance he’ll have his brace removed, which would be a good sign that he’s moving in the right direction.
Designated Adam Warren… But that would have meant giving up on a guy who had a strong second half out of the Triple-A rotation last year. Sure, Warren’s long-man spot could have been filled by Marshall, but there’s probably more value in a 25-year-old starting pitcher than a 32-year-old lefty specialist. Especially with Rondon, Vidal Nuno, Juan Cedeno and Josh Spence in the organization. The Yankees actually have quite a few viable lefties right now.
Designated Melky Mesa… Or Corban Joseph. Or Zoilo Almonte. Basically, the Yankees could have cut some position depth in order to keep Rapada as bullpen depth. All about priorities, though, similar to the idea of designating Warren. It’s a matter of which one you’d rather have, a young player who may or may not help at the big league level, or a veteran who you know can help in a limited role. The trick that worked with Adams — release and hope he re-signs — isn’t something the Yankees would be able to pull off in every situation.
I happen to like Rapada quit a bit. I like talking to him in the clubhouse; I like that he does one particular thing awfully well. But given the alternatives, I’m not sure the Yankees made the wrong call here. The emergence of Nuno and the strong spring by Spence certainly give the Yankees left-handed depth even without Rapada. The 40-man was impossibly tight, and the Yankees managed to make their choices without losing a young player and without losing an irreplaceable big leaguer.
Associated Press photo