People keep asking when the Yankees are going to announce their non-roster invitations to big league camp. My short answer is: I’m not sure, but it should be any day now. Last year, the Yankees announced their non-roster invitations on February 5, so that’s a year from tomorrow.
What I know for certain is that there should be quite a bit of turnover from last year’s group.
Last spring, the Yankees wound up inviting a total of 68 players to big league camp. They initially had 66 — counting the guys on the 40-man roster — then they added two more right before pitchers and catchers officially showed up.
Of those 68 players invited a year ago, 30 are no longer in the organization. Another four or five should not be considered locks for a big league invitation this spring. That means half of the guys invited to camp last year might not be back this year.
14 invited last year, 5 no longer with the team
Still in the organization: Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia, Nathan Eovaldi, Ivan Nova, Bryan Mitchell, Luis Severino, Vicente Campos, Domingo German
No longer with the team: Chris Capuano, Chase Whitley, Jose De Paula, Scott Baker, Kyle Davies
Most of the rotation turnover involves depth options who played small roles last season (if they played a role at all). Of the returning starters, Campos might be more of a bullpen option at this point, and German might not get a big league invitation after his Tommy John surgery. We already know a few new starters who will be brought into camp this spring: Luis Cessa has a 40-man spot, Anthony Swarzak (if he’s going to be stretched out) should be there on a minor league deal, and surely Brady Lail will get an invitation after getting to Triple-A last season. I also assume minor league free agent Richard Bleier was guaranteed a big league invitation when he signed his minor league contract.
20 invited last year, 10 no longer with the team
Still in the organization: Dellin Betances, Branden Pinder, Nick Rumbelow, Nick Goody, Diego Moreno, Andrew Miller, Chasen Shreve, Jacob Lindgren, Tyler Webb, James Pazos
No longer with the team: Justin Wilson, David Carpenter, Adam Warren, Esmil Rogers, Chris Martin, Jose Ramirez, Danny Burawa, Andrew Bailey, Wilking Rodriguez, Jared Burton
The Yankees had a total of 14 right-handed relievers in big league camp last season, and only five of them are still with the organization. Of those five, Moreno is not on the 40-man and not necessarily guaranteed a big league invitation. From the other side, the Yankees brought six left-handed relievers to camp last spring and still have five of those. Still, that’s pretty significant turnover with only half of last spring’s relievers still in the organization. Obviously Aroldis Chapman will be there this year. So will relatively minor 40-man roster additions Kirby Yates and Tyler Olson, and prospect Johnny Barbato has been moved to the 40-man roster as well. We also already know veteran Vinnie Pestano will be there on a minor league deal.
9 invited last year, 4 no longer with the team
Still in the organization: Brian McCann, Austin Romine, Gary Sanchez, Eddy Rodriguez, Kyle Higashioka
No longer with the team: John Ryan Murphy, Juan Graterol, Francisco Arcia, Trent Garrison
Most significant change here is trading away Murphy and signing Carlos Corporan to a minor league deal. I suppose Graterol has basically been replaced by minor league free agent Sebastian Valle, and Francisco Arcia is essentially replaced by Francisco Diaz. We’ll see what over low-level organizational catchers gets a chance to come to big league camp to catch a few bullpens and maybe get some at-bats, but it’s basically the same old story. Always a lot of catchers brought to big league camp. Last year, the Yankees had to decide between Romine and Murphy for the backup role in New York. This year, it seems they’ll have to choose from Romine, Sanchez and Corporan.
15 invited last year, 8 no longer with the team
Still in the organization: Mark Teixeira, Chase Headley, Alex Rodriguez, Didi Gregorius, Greg Bird, Rob Refsnyder, Cito Culver
No longer with the team: Stephen Drew, Brendan Ryan, Garrett Jones, Kyle Roller, Jose Pirela, Cole Figueroa, Nick Noonan, Jonathan Galvez
Because he’s on the 40-man roster, I suppose Bird will technically be allowed in big league camp, but he obviously won’t be doing anything. I’m also not sure Culver will be invited back after another disappointing season at the plate. It’s entirely possible the Yankees will have just five returning infielders from last year’s spring training roster. Among those lost are three guys who spent most of the season in the big leagues, so that’s a significant turnover. Obviously Starlin Castro will be taking Drew’s spot, and this winter’s transaction champion Ronald Torreyes will essentially take Pirela’s spot. We also know Dustin Ackley will be there, and minor league free agents Pete Kozma, Donovan Solano and Jonathan Diaz will be this year’s version of Figueroa, Noonan and Galvez. Question is, will the Yankees add a first baseman? Last spring, the team had Bird, Jones and Roller providing insurance at first. This year? Not much.
10 invited last year, 3 no longer with the team
Still in the organization: Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott, Aaron Judge, Tyler Austin
No longer with the team: Chris Young, Ramon Flores, Jake Cave
One free agent, one trade and one Rule 5 pick have slightly thinned the Yankees’ outfield options, but that’s not an issue. The Yankees are still deep in the outfield and won’t have any problem finding enough outfielders to get through spring training. Aaron Hicks is taking over the platoon role, and Ben Gamel is basically a one-for-one replacement for Flores. There’s always a chance Cave will be back before the end of spring training, and Lane Adams will surely be invited if he clears waivers and stays with the organization. Worth wondering whether the Yankees will bring Austin back to big league camp, and whether they’ll see enough playing time to be worth inviting Dustin Fowler.
Associated Press photo