An early look at the Yankees' 26-man roster
Yankees pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Tampa on Feb. 15, with the first workout scheduled for a day later. Position players are scheduled to report Feb. 19, with the first full-squad workout coming the next day.
A lot can — and will — happen between those first workouts and the season opener March 30 against the Giants at the Stadium. An early look at what the Opening Day roster could look like:
RH Gerrit Cole, LH Carlos Rodon, RH Luis Severino, LH Nestor Cortes, RH Domingo German
German has the inside track to take the spot occupied by Frankie Montas, whose lingering shoulder issues will keep him out for at least the first month of the season. On paper, this shapes up as one of the best rotations in the American League, one that should only get stronger with the addition of a healthy Montas. Cole and Rodon should constitute as good a top-of-the-rotation punch as there is in the American League, and the only question in spring training will be the order in which the Yankees want to roll out the remaining three arms. There is not a lot of organizational depth when it comes to starters, so another addition here before camp — or even during it — can’t be ruled out.
CF Harrison Bader, RF Aaron Judge, 1B Anthony Rizzo, DH Giancarlo Stanton, 2B Gleyber Torres, 3B Josh Donaldson, LF Aaron Hicks, SS Oswald Peraza, C Jose Trevino
General manager Brian Cashman's pursuit to acquire a leftfielder continues. Currently, the likeliest player to occupy that spot is Hicks, whose inability to consistently stay on the field and whose up-and-down performance when he has been healthy has led to his ranking among the roster's least popular players among the fan base. Prospect Oswaldo Cabrera, a natural infielder who showed considerable ability in the outfield late last season, will get his chances in left in spring training, as will another prospect, Estevan Florial. Bet on the Yankees making some kind of move here before the end of camp.
The other open spot is at shortstop, where there will be a three-way competition between Isiah Kiner-Falefa and prospects Peraza and Anthony Volpe. The Yankees’ preference is for one of the prospects to win the job, but it won’t be handed to either one. A wild card? The Yankees have looked into trading Torres, which obviously would cause a bit of roster upheaval. Such a blockbuster during spring training isn’t unheard of — late at night last March 13, the Yankees dealt Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela to the Twins and acquired Donaldson, Kiner-Falefa and catcher Ben Rortvedt. The Yankees have spent much of the offseason trying to get a team to take Donaldson, who was mostly terrific in the field last season but a tough watch more often than not at the plate. He’s penciled in as the starter at third base, but come the season opener, it wouldn’t be a shock to see DJ LeMahieu there regardless of whether Donaldson is on the roster.
INF DJ LeMahieu, C Kyle Higashioka, INF/OF Oswaldo Cabrera, INF Isiah Kiner-Falefa
As of now, LeMahieu, who did not require offseason surgery on the right toe injury that negatively impacted him for pretty much the entirety of the season’s second half, appears as if he’ll again float between third, second and first. Kiner-Falefa could end up manning shortstop, but Peraza and Volpe will be given every opportunity in spring training to win the job.
RH Clay Holmes, RH Jonathan Loaisiga, LH Wandy Peralta, RH Tommy Kahnle, RH Michael King, RH Ron Marinaccio, RH Lou Trivino, RH Albert Abreu
Abreu, who to this point hasn’t lived up to the hype that accompanied much of his minor-league career, is out of minor-league options, and it would not be a surprise if by the end of spring training, the Yankees had decided to move on. Kahnle is back for a third stint with the organization, added in early December to give some depth to what already had the appearance of a strong bullpen. Holmes, brilliant much of 2022 before experiencing right shoulder issues down the stretch, enters spring training as the closer. In many ways, the 2022 bullpen never fully recovered after King left the mound in Baltimore on July 22 with a season-ending elbow injury. By all accounts, the 27-year-old King, among the most dominant of MLB relievers at the time of the injury, comes in healthy. Expect the righthander, who started throwing from a mound at the club’s minor-league complex in Tampa last month, to be brought along at a slightly slower pace than his fellow pitchers.
Pitchers, catchers report: Feb. 15
First workout: Feb. 16
Full squad reports: Feb. 19
First workout: Feb. 20
First spring game: Feb. 25 at Phillies, 1:05 p.m.
Opening Day: March 30 vs. Giants, 1:05 p.m.