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Yankees make further spring training cuts as Opening Day roster begins to form

Marwin Gonzalez now appears to be in good shape to make the cut, and Manny Bañuelos continues to hang around.

New York Yankees v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Prior to Friday’s game against the Tigers, Yankees manager Aaron Boone noted to the media that there would be some spring training roster cuts announced a little later in the afternoon. They just weren’t public knowledge yet because he had yet to discuss the cuts with all the players involved.

All those hard talks have seemingly now taken place, as the Yankees’ Twitter account revealed six more players who would not be coming north with the team for Opening Day on April 7th. The most notable names included were infielder José Peraza, first baseman Ronald Guzmán, and 2021 fill-in outfielder Ryan LaMarre:

All three players faced somewhat-uphill battles in an attempt to make the Opening Day squad. They were all non-roster invitees to Yankees camp, but with rosters set to expand to 28 for April under the temporary rules to accommodate for the shortened spring, they each had an outside shot. In a different timeline, each could’ve made the club as a backup of some kind, especially if there were any injuries afoot.

It wasn’t to be, though. Enough outfielders were ahead of LaMarre that he was a long shot. Guzmán’s ability to fill in at first was negated by DJ LeMahieu and Marwin Gonzalez’s versatility, while Phillip Evans simply wasn’t very good. Peraza might have had the best shot as a potential backup at shortstop (though he primarily plays other positions at this point), but Gonzalez outplayed him. The former Astro now seems to be in the ol’ catbird seat to make the cut, though they will have to find a spot on the 40-man roster for him.

As for the pitchers, Matt Bowman is in his first healthy season post-Tommy John surgery, so he was always Triple-A bound, and Ryan Weber wasn’t up to snuff. Notably absent from these cuts, however, is the sentimental favorite in camp: former top prospect Manny Bañuelos. Like Gonzalez, he would need to be added to the 40-man to find room for him, and it’s going to be even tighter for him to make the bullpen, but hey, he’s still in camp. The Yankees have a few more days to make a decision on him.

Below are the roster “bubble” candidates who are still in Yankees camp, with a comment on their likely outlook:

C Rob Brantly (NRI) — likely to make team as Kyle Higashioka’s backup with Ben Rortvedt still recovering from oblique strain
C David Freitas (NRI) — outside shot as backup, but could make team as third catcher given the 28-man roster in April
C Max McDowell (NRI) — like Freitas, could make team as third catcher, though less likely

UTIL Miguel Andújar — still around, fighting for roster spot
UTIL Marwin Gonzalez (NRI) — versatility and MLB status has him in excellent shape
OF Ender Inciarte (NRI) — veteran outfielder still in camp over LaMarre and Estevan Florial, but the next guy seems like he has an edge on him
OF Tim Locastro — has a 40-man spot and just seems to be more of an MLB-caliber player at this point than Inciarte, especially if he’s the new Brett Gardner

P Albert Abreu — firmly in the mix, out of options and has the Aaron Boone endorsement
P Manny Bañuelos (NRI) — in the mix with excellent spring, if Yankees want prospects to simply be prospects in Triple-A, they could put Bañuelos in MLB ‘pen for long relief
P Deivi García — in the mix if the Yankees want to piggyback him with another starter, though he might start off in Triple-A simply to reestablish status after rough 2021
P Luis Gil — in the mix, though might be best served starting in Triple-A
P Michael King — Boone said he should be up with the Yankees; I’ve only included him here in case the Yankees want him to start in Triple-A, but a MLB swingman role is more likely
P Ron Marinaccio — unlikely given development timeline but possible if roster changes and team doesn’t want to promote starters to relieve
P Shelby Miller (NRI) — only signed to camp four days ago, definitely needs more time regardless
P Stephen Ridingsinjured, hasn’t pitched in camp yet
P Clarke Schmidt — like Gil, probably best served starting in Triple-A
P JP Sears — like Marinaccio, probably unlikely, given spring & development timeline