Last year, team owners and the MLBPA came together and agreed on a new rule, to be implemented in 2020, which will allow teams to carry 26 players on their roster from Opening Day until September 1.
So, now that the Yankees will have one more player than normal, let’s take a look at who the best candidates are for this additional spot on the major-league roster.
4. Thairo Estrada
Last season Estrada got 64 at-bats with the Yankees as he helped cover the infield while Didi Gregorius recovered from Tommy John surgery. In those 64 at-bats, he hit .250 with three home runs and 12 RBI. He played perfectly fine in the field, too. The Yankees don’t exactly need another infielder right now, but if they decide they want their 26th man to be an infielder, Estrada would be a good option.
3. Deivi Garcia
Some fans may scoff at the idea of Garcia getting roster spot on Opening Day. Frankly, I do as well, but out of all the young pitchers on the 40-man roster, it would make the most sense to give him the roster spot. Garcia most certainly has plenty of work to do if he wants to become a legitimate big-league pitcher, but last season he rapidly climbed his way through the minor league ranks from High-A to Triple-A. His next stop is certainly the big leagues, so it can’t hurt to give him a head start just to test the waters. Perhaps he could pitch out of the bullpen.
2. Clint Frazier
At this point, almost everybody knows the story with Clint Frazier. The outfielder has not by any means been a bad player with the Yankees. In fact, he has been a great hitter when given the chance. When his time with the Yankees began, there wasn’t a favorable opportunity for him in the outfield. When he did get his chance, he unfortunately was set back by a bad concussion and other injuries. On top of the injuries, Frazier has struggled with his fielding and the New York media. However, the Yankees have yet to trade him, and if they don’t, Frazier is a player who can provide a great offensive spark off the bench.
1. Tyler Wade
Tyler Wade is quietly one of the more valuable players the Yankees have. Whenever he has been given the chance, people seem to think he always plays down to those opportunities. That’s probably because people only focus on the offensive aspect of it. Wade is the perfect Swiss Army knife bench player. He has blazing speed, he can field well in the outfield and the infield, and he can do a little hitting.
This is a player that can provide so much, especially when coming off the bench. Think about the king of late-inning threat he would be on the basepaths. Some fans were clamoring for him to receive a playoff roster spot last season, and he did in the ALDS—for good reason, too. Wade is your perfect 26th man.