40-man roster spots in jeopardy this winter

With the season winding down and the Yankees playoff hope slimming by the day, some 40-man roster spot decisions will have to be made in the near future. While some roster spots will open up because of impending free agents and retirements (Mark Teixeira, Billy Butler, etc.), some roster spots will be needed to protect players from the Rule 5 Draft (Tyler Webb, Kyle Hishioga, etc.). Because of these moves some roster spots may be up in the air this offseason, let’s take a look at some players whose 40-man roster spots may be in limbo.
Photo Credit: Kim Klement
Johnny Barbato
Barbato, believe it or not, started the season on the Opening Day roster, but his stint in pinstripes did not go so well. Barbato appeared in twelve games between Opening Day and May 8th and had a horrible outing on August 5th to move his season ERA to 7.62 and hasn’t been at the Major League level since. The fact that Barbato is on the 40-man roster and hasn't been considered for a September call up should be concerning, although that is partially because he was a contributor on the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders team that just won the triple-A national championship.
Photo Credit: Mike Stobe | Getty Images
Richard Bleier
Bleier has been pretty efficient in his time in Pinstripes, keeping his ERA under three in a handful of innings. Bleier was also used as a starter in his time in AAA. The fact that Bleier is left handed is also in his favor. While Bleier’s roster spot may be safer than others on this list, relievers are expendable, especially when the Yankees have plenty in the farm system.
Photo Credit: Aaron Josefczyk | AP
J.R. Graham
Okay, I know what you’re thinking, who is he and how is he still on the 40-man roster? Graham was acquired from the Twins on May 14 after he was DFA’d and has stuck on the 40-man roster since. Graham has spent all his time with the organization in the minor leagues pitching in 21 games between Scranton, Trenton and Staten Island. It's amazing in itself that Graham has lasted this long, but don’t expect that to happen when it's roster cut time.
Photo via MLB.com
Tommy Layne
Tommy Layne has been very productive as the Yankees’ lefty specialist since coming over from the Red Sox. While Layne was Boston’s trash, he’s been New York’s gold. Layne is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in 24 appearances with the Yankees this year. While that’s all good and all, it may not be a reason to keep him around if a better option comes along.
Photo Credit: Barry Chin | Boston Globe
Blake Parker
Another pitcher collected off the scrap heap, Parker been around longer than I anticipated. Selected off waivers from the Mariners on August 9, Parker is just one of your typical middle relief pitchers that only hang around until something better is available. Still, Parker has pitched well enough to compete for a roster spot next season. He claims a 3.14 ERA in 14 appearances with the Yankees this season.
Photo Credit: Adam Hunger | AP
Austin Romine
Romine has lost his 40-man roster spot before, but if it was to happen again it’s not likely that Romine would stick around. Romine has filled in quite well this season and that most likely wouldn’t had been possible without a strong Spring Training this year. Romine’s 40-man roster spot could hinge on what the Yankees want to do with Kyle Higashioka, who belted 21 home runs in 102 minor league games this season. Higashioka would have to be added to the 40-man roster to keep him from becoming a minor league free agent and if the Yankees do decide to keep him, Romine might be looking for a job elsewhere.
Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac
Donovan Solano
This is an easy call. The only reason Donovan Solano was brought up to the big league club was in the wake of the Starlin Castro injury and nothing more. Expect Solano to be shipped out if room is needed.
Photo via MLB.com
Anthony Swarzak
Swarzak’s Yankee career has been brief, and very uneventful. Another middle relief pitcher that is easily expandable, don’t expect Swarzak to be around much longer. Yankees fan can rejoice.
Photo Credit: Elsa | Getty Images
Kirby Yates
The Hawaiian right handed pitcher has set career highs in games pitched and innings pitched this season, but it hasn’t been pleasing results. Once again another fill in relief pitcher, Yates could very well be on the chopping block if needed.
Photo Credit: Mike Stobe | Getty Images
Nathan Eovaldi
Both aren’t currently on the 40-man roster because they are both on the 60-day disabled list, but both would have to be added back after the end of the World Series. Nathan Eovaldi is out for all of next season so it is a pretty easy decision to cut him loose from the 40-man roster. The Yankees might look into signing Eovaldi to a low ball deal to keep him around while recovering, but that 40-man roster spot will be put to better use.
Photo Credit: Norm Hall | Getty Images
Dustin Ackley
I honestly forgot Dustin Ackley was a Yankee since he hasn’t played in a game since May 29th due to injury, but it’s probably safe to say that Ackley’s roster spot is not safe. Expect the Yankees to move on from Ackley and use Tyler Austin/Greg Bird as the backup first baseman and Refsnyder/Hicks/Williams as the backup corner outfielders.
Photo Credit: Brian Blanco | Getty Images
Every team only gets 40 spots to protect their players and because of that every roster spot is precious, the Yankees will have a lot of decisions to make this offseason and will have to decide who is worth keeping around.

Article by: Julian Bussells
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  1. I think the Yankees should keep Austin Romine.He's a good a good defensive catcher and he proved he can hit. Besides he's only 27 years old. They can't get any better than him for a backup catcher. I know for a fact He'll be a regular in any other team.

    1. I like Romine, but I would also like to see what Higashioka can bring

  2. I think the Yankees should keep Austin Romine.He's a good defensive catcher and he proved he can hit. Besides he's only 27 years old. They can't get any better than him for a backup catcher. I know for a fact He'll be a regular in any other team.He's also a good teammate and a very humble guy.He's as good as they come.He's young but old school.You don't get much of them any more.

  3. These are the 40 that I would protect...
    Bird, Austin, Castro, Torreyes, Gregorious, Mateo, Headley, Andujar, Ellsbury, Gardner, Judge, Hicks, Refsnyder, M. Williams, Sanchez, McCann, Higashioka, Romine, CC, Tanaka, Chad Green, Cessa, Severino, Pineda, Enns, Mitchell, Acevedo, Betances, Clippard, Warren, Goody, Shreve, Heller, Holder, Lindgren, Webb, Gallegos*, Pazos *, Herrera *, Barbato. *. Those last four are on the fence, but rather protect them that waste spots on vets like Layne and Blier.

    I would try to move Romine and some of the guys left out (Cave, Tarpley). I don't see anyone taking guys like Torrens, Crawford, Lail, Colshow or Hensley).

    If they are interested in Eovaldi it has to be after Rule 5 draft happens. No need to protect him.


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