This might not be a good team, but it might be better than this year’s Astros.
Here’s a 25-man roster made entirely of players who were under contract with the Yankees at some point this season and are now either signed elsewhere or on the open market. Some were released mid-season. Some are heading toward retirement. Some are simply at the end of their previous contracts.
That’s three-fourths of the Yankees regular Opening Day infield. Mark Teixeira should be back to fill some of that void, but with very real questions about Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, it’s clear that the infield will get significant attention. Outside of Granderson, the Yankees aren’t losing much in the outfield (though Granderson is obviously a pretty big piece), and, if they want to, the Yankees will be able to keep every catcher they used this season (though both Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart are arbitration-eligible).
Travis Hafner DH
Luis Cruz INF
Thomas Neal OF
Reid Brignac SS
My guess is that every team could sort through its lost players and put together a group of bench players kind of like this one. I suppose what sets the Yankees apart is the fact that Cruz, Brignac, Chris Nelson, Brent Lillibridge and Alberto Gonzalez were all infield options for this list. The Yankees really did burn through a ton of guys like that this season.
The standouts are the top three. The Yankees have in-house guys like David Phelps, Michael Pineda and Adam Warren to consider as replacement starters, but their rotation is taking a significant hit this offseason. Wang and Bootcheck were nothing more than minor league depth, though both got some big league time (Bootcheck out of the Yankees bullpen, Wang out of the Blue Jays rotation).
Kind of like the rotation, the key spots here are the top three. The rest were essentially experienced depth options, with Rapada never getting to New York this season after having big league success in the past. With those top three leaving, though, the Yankees are left with Dave Robertson as the clear in-house relief standout. Otherwise, Shawn Kelley, Preston Claiborne, David Huff and Cesar Cabral have shown at least some promise for next season, but it’s worth remembering the Kelley and Huff were each DFA within the past year, Claiborne was awful in the second half, and Cabral has less than four innings of Major League experience. The bullpen is basically as thin as the rotation at this point.
Associated Press photos