Brian Cashman had a busy couple of days to prepare for Monday night’s Rule V 40-man roster deadline. The Yankees 40-man roster was a bit of a mess; they added Gleyber Torres, Billy McKinney, Jake Cave, Albert Abreu, Thairo Estrada and Jonathan Loaisiga, and were forced to subtract Garrett Cooper, Caleb Smith, Ronald Herrera, Nick Rumbelow and Erik Kratz to make that happen. Going back a little farther, the Yankees cleared lots of space off the 40-man at the trade deadline by getting rid of Dustin Fowler, Jorge Mateo, Ian Clarkin, and others.
Even with exodus, several players are still unprotected. Here are the best of them:
- 1B Mike Ford
- 1B Ryan McBroom
- UT Abiatal Avelino
- LHP Nestor Cortes
- RHP Erik Swanson
- RHP Nick Green
- RHP J.P. Feyereisen
- LHP Stephen Tarpley
- RHP Jordan Foley
- RHP Raynel Espinal
- RHP Jose Mesa
Let’s start with the position players. No one is going to miss McBroom or Avelino. Mike Ford, on the other hand, could be a big loss. Ford hit .270/.404/.471 between Double-A and Triple-A, with phenomenal 14% strikeout rate and 16% walk rate. Ford has a long history in the minors of hitting well, but added power to his game for the first time in 2017 while playing in a very tough Double-A ballpark for power hitters. For some reason, the Yankees opted for Garrett Cooper and Ji Man Choi over Ford when they desperately needed bodies at 1b/DH this summer. Maybe they know something we don’t. The stat line suggests Ford could be a very good major league hitter. Some club will claim him and give him a chance to prove it next season.
We can divide the pitchers into roughly two groups. Swanson and Feyereisen are both high-minors relief pitchers who were a notch below the cut to make the Yankees 40-man roster (and below the players worth trading for some return). The Rule V draft is designed to benefit guys like these two, and they will likely get claimed by some major league team looking for the next Nick Goody. The Yankees lose a few of these guys every year, and that’s fine.
The second group is more interesting. Espinal, Green, Foley, Tarpley, and Mesa were all standout performers in the low minor leagues this season. Tarpley is a lefty and will be given a chance by some team to make the roster out of Spring Training. The others are strikeout righties who some team might want to take a chance on but probably won’t stick with the team all season. Think Ivan Nova.
Overall, the Yankees limited the damage by freeing up roster spots through trades. Just one month ago it looked like the Yankees would have to leave players like McKinney, Cave, and Estrada unprotected. They even found room for Loaisiga, whom most of us are learning about for the first time. Good job, Cashman.
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