The Yankees have made a flurry of roster moves since the start of free agency in November. From parting ways with Greg Bird and Jacoby Ellsbury to the signing of Gerrit Cole, it has been a fairly active offseason for the Bombers and could be considered one of the most productive ones compared to years prior.
While there is always room for improvement, the current iteration of the Yankees could definitely function as the Opening Day roster. There are no glaring holes that need to be patched up, and they have a host of players to cover starting and back up options.
First base is locked up with Luke Voit, plus the team has Mike Ford waiting in the wings. Ford developed into an important depth piece and could have an increased role on the 2020 team, especially if the Yankees don’t add another lefty bat to an already right-handed heavy lineup. If Ford fails to reach the level of play he did last year, DJ LeMahieu can occasionally slide in at first as he did throughout a lot of the regular season and in the postseason.
Third base has a strong competition between Gio Urshela and Miguel Andujar. Though Urshela will have the advantage as they enter spring training, Andujar is more than capable of winning the job if he’s close to his breakout 2018 form.
As for the middle infield, Gleyber Torres will take over at shortstop, replacing Didi Gregorius. Torres is no stranger to the position as he played there during his time with the Chicago Cubs and even patrolled short when Gregorius was recovering from Tommy John Surgery. His double play partner will be DJ LeMahieu at second base, with Thairo Estrada and Tyler Wade serving as their backups. Wade and Estrada not have not only seen time on the infield dirt, but also the outfield grass. That versatility adds another level to the team’s depth and makes them valuable pieces to keep on the roster.
The outfield is nearly set in stone with little question as to who will get the starting nod. Mike Tauchman will mostly be seen in left field with Brett Gardner in center and Aaron Judge in right. Giancarlo Stanton could serve as the team’s DH, but will get his fair share of innings in left field too. Once Aaron Hicks fully recovers from his elbow injury, he figures to be inserted right back into the starting lineup. Clint Frazier also has a chance to earn significant playing time.
Gary Sanchez and Kyle Higashioka will carry the load at the catchers position. The Yankees had the opportunity to sign another catcher if they wanted to, but with the top-tier free agent catchers coming off the board it looks like that ship has sailed.
The starting rotation could add a back-end arm if the Yankees choose to do so, but it’s not all that necessary. Jordan Montgomery, Michael King and J.A. Happ can all make the case to be the fifth starter. There are free agent names such as Ivan Nova, Andrew Cashner and Aaron Sanchez that the Yankees can grab to add to the rotation, but the in-house options could probably perform as well, if not better.
As for the bullpen, it could be beneficial to get another “innings-eater” arm. The pieces already in play made them one of the best bullpens in baseball, however. There aren’t many arms that are available in the market that the Yankees would go after, and the cost for the ones that they could be in on are surging. Especially after letting Dellin Betances walk, New York may very well believe that the bullpen is all set as is. Their back-end pitcher could end up developing from a prospect like Deivi Garcia, Clarke Schmidt or Albert Abreu as they work their way into the league.
The Yankees will continue to look for whatever improvements they can find, but the exercise of running through their roster finds them well situated. If no other moves are made, the roster assembled right now could work as they head into the season.