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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 4/6/22

Yankees finalize Opening Day roster; Greg Bird returns on minor league deal; New York projected to have best pitching staff in baseball; Todd Frazier retires

MLB: Spring Training-Pittsburgh Pirates at New York Yankees Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

New York Post | Greg Joyce: The Yankees have announced their 28-man Opening Day roster. They will carry 16 pitchers and 12 position players, meaning a three-man bench and eleven-man bullpen. Carrying this abundance of arms is likely to combat early-season injury concerns on the staff given the shortened ramp-up period of the abbreviated spring training — indeed, manager Aaron Boone has said that starters will not be expected to go far beyond 70-75 pitches for at least the first turn through the rotation. (As an added note, tomorrow’s rainout means 10 games in 10 days to open the season, beginning Friday.)

Also of note was the confirmation that Marwin González would be making the team. He had a successful spring for the Yankees with a 1.231 OPS and three home runs, and his defensive versatility is likely seen as a significant asset to the ball club. He has played every position besides catcher, and his 2,337 career innings at shortstop prove he can field a position for which the Yankees had no true backup prior to his addition to the roster. They will still need to open a 40-man roster spot for González, so we’ll keep you updated as news breaks.

NJ Advance Media | Mike Rosenstein: In rather unexpected news, the Yankees will be reuniting with old friend Greg Bird on a minor league deal. Fans will remember his tenure as one of the leading faces of the Baby Bomber generation as well as his unfulfilled potential thanks to a laundry list of injuries. Since his last major league appearance — April 13, 2019 with the Yankees — Bird has bounced around the minor league systems of Texas, Philadelphia, Colorado, and most recently Toronto. He recently opted out of his minor league deal with Toronto and will join Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The 29-year-old could earn up to $1 million if he makes the major league roster.

FanGraphs | Ben Clemens: The staff at FanGraphs has been compiling team power rankings at every position, and yesterday they tackled starting pitching. Based on a combination of the ZiPS and Steamer projection systems, they expect the Yankees’ rotation to be the best starting staff in baseball. This prediction is bolstered by Gerrit Cole’s MLB-leading 5.7 fWAR projection, but just as important is the depth of capable arms behind him.

FanGraphs | Dan Szymborski: They also ranked teams’ bullpens, and the Yankees once again are projected to field the best unit in baseball. Spearheaded by Aroldis Chapman, Jonathan Loáisiga, and Chad Green, the Yankees’ deep cadre of relief arms is projected to be head-and-shoulders over any other group in MLB. Combine the two results and the Yankees’ pitching staff is projected as comfortably the best in the majors, even if it may not feel like it.

MLB Trade Rumors | Anthony Franco: Todd Frazier has announced his retirement after 11 major league seasons. Frazier arrived in the Bronx as part of the 2017 trade deadline deal that also netted the Yankees David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle, with Blake Rutherford, Tyler Clippard, Ian Clarkin, and Tito Polo heading to the White Sox. He performed well in his 66-game cameo for the Bombers, slashing .222/.365/.423 with 11 home runs and a 115 wRC+, but is arguably better known for being a member of the 1998 Little League World Series-winning Toms River, NJ team — and subsequent Derek Jeter encounter — and his thumbs-down celebration than his production on the field. Best wishes to the Toddfather in all his future endeavors!