The Yankees are quickly approaching Opening Day on April 7, meaning management is trimming the roster. The Bombers currently have 36 players on the roster, not including two pitchers on the injured list.
Having added multiple players to minor league contracts and invited them to spring training, it was only a matter of time before they began to cut the numbers down. Three of the latest four re-assignments were heavily involved in competition for the backup catcher role before general manager Brian Cashman acquired Jose Trevino from the Texas Rangers over the weekend.
Yankees re-assign four players to the minors:
1.) Shelby Miller
One of the more interesting assignments was veteran relief pitcher Shelby Miller, who spent last season with Chicago and Pittsburgh. Miller posted a 9.24 ERA last season and an 8.59 ERA with Texas back in 2019. It has been quite some time since Shelby has had a productive season, but he looked strong this spring, recording a 0.00 ERA and allowing just one hit over one inning pitched.
Clearly, the sample size wasn’t enough to justify Miller’s retention at the top level, given Cashman landed Miguel Castro from the New York Mets on Sunday via trade.
2.) Rob Brantley
One of the players competing for Kyle Higashioka’s backup spot was Rob Brantley, who made six appearances last season, recording three hits. This spring, he hit .250 over 7 games, showcasing some efficiency on the offensive side.
Trevino offers phenomenal framing capabilities and a decent bat with more MLB experience, which is why he immediately took over while Ben Rortvedt rehabilitates from an oblique injury.
3.) David Freitas
David Freitas was also competing for the backup catcher role, spending last season with Tampa Bay’s AAA affiliate. Freitas never really had a chance at landing on the active roster, but he will spend time in the minors if not outright released.
4.) Max McDowell
Another name that bubbled to the surface during spring training was Max McDowell, a 28-year-old catcher. McDowell spent last year with Somerset and Scranton Wilkes-Barre, hitting a collective .217 with 31 hits and one homer. McDowell has never made an appearance at the MLB level, and given his offensive shortcomings, he may have to wait another year or supplement injury in a worst-case scenario.