Yankees announce another wave of roster cuts, 2 players remain in the mix for bench spots

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Detroit Tigers
Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

With DJ LeMahieu headed for the IL ahead of their opening series against the Houston Astros, the Yankees are going to need a utility infielder to back up their starting third baseman. It looks like Oswaldo Cabrera will be their option to slide in at the hot corner, but the Yankees left the door very open to an external addition ahead of Opening Day. The Yankees are down to two players, Ben Rortvedt and Jahmai Jones, and with two roster spots remaining, it would lead you to believe that they have made the team; but the Yankees instead said they were in the mix.

The Yankees seem to be eyeing an external option, although that would come through the trade or waiver market most likely, as free agents who haven’t played in Spring Training aren’t built up right now.

Roster Cuts Leave the Yankees With 26 Players, But a Trade is Lurking

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles
Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

This was a hefty wave of roster cuts, as Luis Torrens, Yerry de los Santos, Luis Rojas, Kevin Smith, Oscar Gonzalez, Greg Allen, and Dennis Santana were all reassigned to Minor League camp. Most of these names aren’t surprising, although there were some in the mix for jobs until the very end. One of those in the mix included the aforementioned Smith, who is a versatile infielder who could have made the team as a reserve infielder. Drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the fourth round of the 2017 MLB Draft, the New York native struggled with the bat and lost out on the competition.

As for another name who was involved in a Spring Training battle, Dennis Santana performed extremely well and could join the team at a later time, but the Yankees opted to go with Clayton Beeter instead. This was likely to give them more insurance in the backend of their bullpen, as he can provide length and innings in case a starter were to exit early. With the Yankees starting their season with seven straight games on the road, having insurance is important, although Santana impressed with his new cutter, striking out 13 batters in 9.2 innings with a 2.79 ERA.

MLB: New York Yankees-Workouts

The Yankees were still not willing to commit to the notion that Jahmai Jones and Ben Rortvedt, who are without MiLB options, have made the team. This is even though they don’t have anyone else they can recall, as Jorbit Vivas suffered a facial contusion earlier in the day, heavily implying an acquisition could be on the way. Last season, the Yankees signed Franchy Cordero after he was cut by the Baltimore Orioles, but for more successful examples of a late-spring acquisition, both Jose Trevino and Mike Tauchman were acquired in trades right before Opening Day.

It’s unclear how the Yankees will address their infield, but a move seems likely, as the Yankees would be carrying three catchers on their roster without a reliable utility infielder as LeMahieu nurses his injury. Oswaldo Cabrera is also coming off of a tough season, so finding insurance in case his struggles continue would make sense as well. Jahmai Jones does have experience in the infield, but not at positions like third base where the Yankees do not have a clear starter at the moment.

As for Ben Rortvedt, his time on the roster has always been numbered with Jose Trevino back in the fold and the emergence of Austin Wells, and time will tell whether he’s traded or waived in the coming days. The Yankees are willing to roll with three catchers on Opening Day it seems like, so perhaps this extends past Thursday.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: