Yankees enter a crucial week as they try to improve the roster and protect top prospects

The New York Yankees’ 40-man roster is full thanks to their decision of re-signing lefty reliever Joely Rodriguez and the addition of catcher Donny Sands. However, if they want to prevent top prospects from being exposed during the upcoming Rule 5 Draft, the Bombers need to trim a few more spots.

MLB’s deadline to add minor leaguers to the 40-man roster or risk losing them to the Rule 5 draft is on Friday. That gives the Yankees five days to maneuver and clear a few spots, possibly for quality prospects like Josh Breaux, Everson Pereira, Oswaldo Cabrera and Randy Vasquez.

Vasquez was one of the most improved pitching prospects in the organization in 2021, while Cabrera is already at Triple-A and could be an internal option for the shortstop position if the Yankees don’t feel ready to hand a big free agent contract.

The Rule 5 Draft will occur on December 8.

A great way to free some roster spots would be a trade. The Yankees are supposed to be after Oakland A’s first baseman Matt Olson, and they also have been connected to Pittsburgh Pirates’ center fielder Bryan Reynolds.

Trading for one of these names could probably open up two or three spots on the 40-man roster. However, it’s much easier said than done.

Who can the Yankees trade?

Right now, there aren’t many tradeable assets on the Yankees on the 40-man roster, other than a few relievers. However, they are not going to deal Jonathan Loaisiga or Clay Holmes, for example.

The Bombers would probably love it if some team was willing to take Miguel Andujar or Clint Frazier, but their trade value is at an all-time low.

If they bring Olson, Luke Voit would be expendable and would, theoretically, be part of the package. Gio Urshela leaving via trade is also a possibility, although it remains unlikely. Perhaps a team pays for Deivi Garcia or Clarke Schmidt’s upside, but the Yankees could be better off retaining those two.

The moves that the Yankees make this week will probably shape their offseason in the big picture.