With just under a week to go we are getting a clear picture of who will be on the Yankees opening day roster.
Because of the shortened spring training from the lockout, rosters will be hold 28 players for the month of April. Manager Aaron Boone has mentioned that the team will likely hold 15 or 16 pitchers.
The Oakland Athletics seem to be waiting on trading Sean Manaea and Frankie Montas, so realistically the Yankees will not make any moves that impact the opening day roster.
Based on the way spring training has been going my best guess at the opening day roster is as follows.
C: Kyle Higashioka and Ben Rortvedt or Rob Brantley (depending on Rortvedt’s injury status)
1B: Anthony Rizzo
2B: Gleyber Torres, DJ LeMahieu
SS: Isiah Kiner-Falefa
3B: Josh Donaldson
LF: Joey Gallo, Giancarlo Stanton
CF: Aaron Hicks, Tim Locastro
RF: Aaron Judge
Utility: Marwin Gonzalez
Starting Pitchers: Gerrit Cole, Luis Severino, Jordan Montgomery, Jameson Taillon, Nestor Cortes
Relief Pitchers: Aroldis Chapman, Jonathan Loaisiga, Chad Green, Clay Holmes, Wandy Peralta, Michael King, Albert Abreu, Lucas Luetge, Joely Rodriguez, Stephen Ridings, Luis Gil
This hypothetical leaves the Yankees with 15 pitchers on the roster. It would make sense to carry 16 pitchers to err on the side of caution early in the season, but there is not another major-league quality arm that comes to mind.
Someone like Clarke Schmidt, Luis Gil or Deivi Garcia could till a role in the bullpen, but it would make the most sense for them to start games in the minor leagues instead of being in the bullpen. All three of those pitchers will see major league time in 2022, but it does not make much sense to force it in April when it is not necessary.
Going with 16 pitchers would also likely mean that Marwin Gonzalez would be left off the roster. He has been hitting really well since being invited to camp. Spring training statistics obviously mean next to nothing, but someone with the versatility of Gonzalez is useful to have, even if there is no expectation to get anything out of him offensively.
There might be minor differences, or maybe the Yankees make a low-key addition after spring training ends like they did when they traded for Mike Tauchman in 2019. But for the most part, this is the team the Yankees will head into 2022 with.
Photo: Charles Wenzelberg/NY Post