Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Who's Next On The 40-Man Roster Hit List?

The Yankees appear to be making up for a slow Winter Meetings week with another flurry of signings early this week.  They've agreed to sign Brian Roberts to a 1-year deal as part of what looks more and more like a patchwork solution at second base.  And a few hours ago the Matt Thornton signing broke, giving them an MLB-proven option for the LOOGY role in next year's bullpen.  Add to that the still-not-official Carlos Beltran signing and the Yankees are looking at 43 players for 40 spots on the active roster right now.

So who gets the axe next?  Based on the positions of the players added, it only makes sense that Vernon Wells be the one to go for Beltran.  He serves little purpose as a 5th or 6th outfielder and the team can get better production out of the DH spot by rotating players through than they would have from Wells.  Lefty pitcher David Huff will probably also get future endeavored now that Thornton is in the 'pen.  No need to carry 3 lefty relief options when there's only 1 available spot.

The last one could be a little trickier.  Roberts' presence could signal the end for Eduardo Nunez.  But with Nunez and Dellin Betances both reportedly still having MiL options left, perhaps the Yankees will just take the easy way out and bump 1 or both of them down to clear space.  Another spot should open up when the A-Rod suspension decision comes down, for 50 games at least, and it makes sense to hold onto as many potential assets as you can when your projected starting lineup is as old, injury-risky, and platoon-heavy as the Yankees' appears it will be.

They don't have to make any decisions yet, but as physicals get completed and deals become official it will be interesting to see how they go about juggling 40-man spots for all these new players.

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