The New York Yankees officially announced their Spring Training invitations today, with five players being signed to minor league deals that came with a complimentary trip to Tampa in addition to 39 non-roster invitees, bringing their camp total to 84 -- 17 more than last season.
Outfielders Matt Diaz, Thomas Neal, and Juan Rivera, infielder Dan Johnson, and catcher Bobby Wilson will all be vying for spots on the big league team after signing a minor league contract. The breakdown of positional invitees is twenty pitchers, six catchers, nine infielders, and nine outfielders. There is at least a decent chance that one of the above guys makes it onto the 25-man roster as the team heads back north for the season. Diaz is probably the most likely of that crop.
More exciting names with a zero-to-infinitely small chance of making the big league roster are the top prospects who always come along for the ride. This season, those prospects include Abraham Almonte, Tyler Austin, Greg Bird, Corey Black, Cito Culver, Adonis Garcia, Nick Goody, Slade Heathcott, Bryan Mitchell, Mark Montgomery, J.R. Murphy, Ronnier Mustelier, Zach Nuding, Gary Sanchez, and others. LoHud has the complete comprehensive list. These kids may not have a real chance of breaking camp with the big leaguers, but it's at least exciting to watch them against big league talent for a couple weeks.
Notably, but perhaps unsurprisingly missing from the list is Mason Williams, whose season was ended early by a dislocated shoulder that required surgery. It's likely that he will still be in recovery mode during Spring Training, which would make his absence on the invitation list make sense. It is a little unfortunate, though, that we won't get to see what he can do against tougher competition, at least at the outset. There's always a chance he's brought up for a game or two as necessary like he got in 2012.
These players will join the 40-man roster when Spring Training gets going at Steinbrenner Field in twelve days. It really cannot get here soon enough.