The Yankees have already made a few cuts over the last two weeks, optioning several prospects down to the minors. First they sent Nik Turley, Jose Ramirez, Francisco Rondon, Slade Heathcott, and Gary Sanchez packing. Aside from Sanchez, none of them were getting any playing time due to injuries and were also unlikely to make the team. Then Bryan Mitchell and Manny Banuelos were cut. Now Joe Girardi has made his first big round of cuts this spring with only two weeks to go until Opening Day.
They sent Bruce Billings, Robert Coello, and Brian Gordon off. None of them were going to make the team and Coello was probably the absolute worst pitcher in camp. If you ask me, Coello got way too long of a look anyway. They also cut prospects Chase Whitley and Mark Montgomery, who will be reassigned to minor league camp and start the year in Triple-A. Word is that Whitley will continue to be stretched out as a starter this season, so he might not be much of an option until we see the results of this experiment. I'm kind of surprised Montgomery was cut so early. I figured he would get a good long look this spring now that he's healthy and looked to be pretty effective. Obviously, not being on the 40-man roster killed his chances, but perhaps they can DFA Preston Claiborne at some point.
As for position players, useful players like Jose Pirela, Ramon Flores, and Corban Joseph are gone. Pirela had a quietly nice spring, but is unlikely to ever really become an option for the Yankees. Ramon Flores was also impressive, but a crowded outfield was not doing him any favors. On the other hand, CoJo was pretty bad and any slim chance he had was wasted. Peter O`Brien never even got a hit, though he was given a longer look than I ever expected he would. Maybe they were trying to see how his bat held up in camp, since his future behind the plate is in question. Francisco Arcia, who is likely just organizational fodder at this point, had a nice spring, but it wasn't going to change anything.
That leaves 14 pitchers in camp who are looking to fill one rotation spot and four bullpen spots. Dellin Betances, Cesar Cabral, Preston Claiborne, and Vidal Nuno might have the edge over the other relievers, since they are on the 40-man roster. Zelous Wheeler, Yangervis Solarte, Scott Sizemore, and Russ Canzler all remain in contention for the final infield spot. It's odd that Tyler Austin is still officially in camp when he hasn't appeared in a game as he deals with a wrist injury. I doubt he makes it through the next round.
Turns out Tyler Austin has indeed been cut. Mason Williams has been cut as well. He was given more of a look than I ever expected him to get. Unfortunately, he didn't take advantage of the opportunity and wasn't very good.