Yankees Hot Stove: The coming 40-man roster crunch

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Are we witnessing the last days of Vernon Wells and Eduardo Nunez?

If you haven't noticed yet, the 40-man roster is currently full. That's why Carlos Beltran, Brian Roberts, and Matt Thornton aren't on the roster as of yet. Apparently Beltran will have his introductory press conference on Friday, meaning the deal will be official, and then he will need to be added to the roster.

That means in the next few days the Yankees will have to clear at least three spots. They want to add a right-handed infielder, which is a fourth spot, and possibly another reliever, which makes five. Add onto that the possibility of signing Masahiro Tanaka and it looks like the Yankees will have to clear a total of six spots on their 40-man roster over the next month.

It means that the Yankees will have to rid themselves of five (or six) of the following players: Ichiro Suzuki, Vernon Wells, Eduardo Nunez, Dean Anna, Vidal Nuno, Cesar Cabral, David Huff, Zoilo Almonte, Ramon Flores, Austin Romine, Francisco Cervelli, J.R. Murphy, Brett Marshall, Shane Greene, and Bryan Mitchell.

Vernon Wells is the most likely major leaguer to be cut. While they Yankees needed his right-handed bat, he has proved that he's worthless no matter what you do with him.

While getting rid of him would be hard, it's clear that Ichiro Suzuki just can't cut it anymore. He was one of the worst everyday hitters in baseball last season and removing him from the team, though trade or DFA, could open up a spot for a younger player.

The Yankees could DFA Eduardo Nunez, since they reportedly don't trust him with much of anything anymore. Getting rid of him would make the team better and then they could have Dean Anna as infield depth.

It's possible they could even DFA Anna, considering he's a 27-year-old minor leaguer with no experience in the majors. If they cut him it's entirely possible he makes it through waivers where they can store him in Triple-A.

The Yankees currently have three left-handed relief options on the 40-man roster, so it's possible they could get rid of at least one. My money would be on David Huff getting the boot, considering he's been used as a starter for most of his career and he's not good. Hopefully they keep Nuno and Cabral because both can be useful down the line.

There seems to be a lot of excess fodder on the roster at the moment. Prospects like Jose Ramirez, Manny Banuelos, Nik Turley, Slade Heathcott, and Jose Campos all make sense to keep. Greene and Mitchell were just protected from the Rule 5 Draft, so they aren't likely to be designated for assignment, though they could always be traded.

Brett Marshall could end up getting squeezed out, considering his redundancy as a young emergency spot starter. If they cut him, Greene or Nuno could always be used in his place if the Yankees ever need someone to start a game.

While I don't think Zoilo Almonte or Ramon Flores will be designated for assignment, it might make sense to try and trade at least one of them for something they need. Right now the Yankees have five catchers on their 40-man roster, and that makes no sense. If they have two in the majors, one in Triple-A, and one in the Double-A, that would leave one available for a trade.

The Yankees will likely cut one of Nunez and Anna, one of Huff, Nuno, and Cabral, one of Wells and Ichiro (allowing Alfonso Soriano to mostly DH) to make the three spots they need now. They can then trade one of Murphy, Romine, and Cervelli, and one of Almonte and Flores to get two more spots if they sign anymore players.

My prediction for the coming roster cuts are: Vernon Wells, Eduardo Nunez, David Huff, Brett Marshall, and then they will trade at least one of their catchers and minor league outfielders. Who do you think they should/will cut?

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