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Checking in on the state of the Yankees’ 40-man roster

How is the roster currently constructed, and how might it change?

League Championship Series - Houston Astros v New York Yankees - Game Five Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

As the offseason hits its final stretch (yay!), the Yankees’ 40-man roster has remained largely unchanged for most of the winter. With that in mind, now is a good time to check in at the current roster, and see how things might expect to change in the upcoming weeks.

Starting Pitching

On MLB roster in 2019: Gerrit Cole, J.A. Happ, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka

Prospects/Rookies: Deivi Garcia, Luis Gil, Luis Medina, Nick Nelson

Between the full-time starters and the swingmen listed below, the Yankees have more potential starting pitchers than any other position on the roster. Garcia, Gil, Medina, and Nelson could compete with Happ for the fifth spot in the rotation, should the veteran southpaw not be traded by the start of spring training.


On MLB roster in 2019: Zack Britton, Luis Cessa, Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green, Ben Heller, Jonathan Holder, Tommy Kahnle, Adam Ottavino, Stephen Tarpley

Prospects/Rookies: Brooks Kriske

Arguably the strength of the Yankees, the bullpen ranks among the deepest in baseball. Barring anything unforeseen, this part of the roster should remain unchanged going into spring training.


On MLB roster in 2019: Michael King, Jonathan Loaisiga, Jordan Montgomery

Prospects/Rookies: Albert Abreu, Miguel Yajure

Montgomery and King both have a real shot to steal the fifth spot in the rotation; they could end up in either the bullpen or Scranton if they do not. The Yankees have liked Loaisiga as a starter, but his inability to remain healthy likely means he is ticketed for a bullpen job.


On MLB roster in 2019: Kyle Higashioka, Gary Sanchez

Prospects/Rookies: [None]

As of now, the Yankees project to enter spring training with only two catchers on their 40-man roster. While the Yankees likely will look to keep it at that way as long as possible in order to maximize roster flexibility, given the regularity of injuries among catchers, expect to see a third one added to the roster at some point in 2020.


On MLB roster in 2019: Miguel Andujar, Thairo Estrada, Mike Ford, DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, Gio Urshela, Luke Voit, Tyler Wade

Prospects/Rookies: [None]

As of now, the Yankees have eight players for what will probably amount to six spots (four starters, one DH, one backup), with two players ticketed for Scranton. The Yankees may look to add a utilityman such as Brock Holt, but chances are, this will be the squad that will enter spring training.


On MLB roster in 2019: Clint Frazier, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Mike Tauchman

Prospects/Rookies: Estevan Florial

Brett Gardner agreed to a one-year contract back on December 12. This deal, however, has yet to be made official. Aaron Hicks, meanwhile, will begin the season on the IL coming off of Tommy John surgery, and will likely be out until the summer. Outside of this outfielder swap, however, the group likely begins spring training as is.

Overall, the Yankees have a full set of players on a 40-man roster that could conceivably enter the 2020 season without any additions. It leans a bit heavy on the pitching side, with more than half the roster being pitchers, but that seems about par for the course for the Yankees, considering the team’s regular use of the Scranton shuttle in recent years.

That said, we could see multiple roster moves happen throughout January and the beginning of February. Gardner still needs to be officially signed, while both the Josh Hader and J.A. Happ trade rumors have slowed a bit, but have not completely gone away. Although not necessarily a need, the Yankees could look into some backup catchers with options remaining, which might necessitate a spot on the 40-man The Yankees could draw from either some of their pitching prospect depth or from their major-league depth (e.g., Andujar, Frazier, or Ford) to facilitate such trades while clearing roster spots.

Aside from adding Gardner to the roster, Brian Cashman has put the Yankees in a position where it does not need to make any significant moves at this point in time. The roster, as currently constructed, could be the one that the team takes to spring training. From there, of course, anything can happen.