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Which Yankees players should be protected in a hypothetical MLB Expansion Draft?

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If Major League Baseball held an Expansion Draft this off-season, who would the Pinstripe Alley staff protect?

Why is Nunez running around with a petition to be protected? He's not even on the team!
Why is Nunez running around with a petition to be protected? He's not even on the team!
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

A couple years back, Jason wrote a piece to see who would be worth protecting in the event of an expansion draft, and recently, Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish inspired me to revisit this idea.

For those who are unaware, when new teams enter the league, Major League Baseball holds an expansion draft, which allows the new teams to build their roster with actual baseball players. This is done so that the new teams can be relevant from day one rather than searching from the scrap heaps of unsigned ball players and using them to try and make a club. This may sound unfair to the pre-existing teams, as the new team can construct their roster from the rosters of other teams, but luckily there's a solution that allows the teams to not be totally dismantled or lose their franchise icons. That's where today's exercise comes to play.

I was going to just do this by myself and see who I would protect in this event, but then I thought that it would be fun to make this an exercise for the group. Thanks to the help of the Pinstripe Alley writers, I was able to compile a list of players that would be protected if the Yankees ever fired Brian Cashman and let us run the ship.

The Scenario

The last two times MLB held an expansion draft (1992 and 1997), they held the draft in mid-November. They do this so teams can get this draft out of the way, enabling them to go about the rest of the off-season knowing exactly what pieces they have to work with for trades or free agency. As a result of this, and as Commissioner of this hypothetical draft, I've decided that this draft will take place on November 10, 2015.

On November 11th, the real Yankees traded John Ryan Murphy to the Twins in exchange for Aaron Hicks. This was the first "big" trade of the off-season, so to me it only made sense to hold the draft before that happened. What does this mean for our situation?

Notable players still with the team: John Ryan Murphy, Adam Warren, Justin Wilson, Eric Jagielo, Rookie Davis, Jose Pirela, Brendan Ryan, Chase Whitley, Jake Cave

Notable players not on the team: Starlin Castro, Aroldis Chapman, Aaron Hicks, Luis Cessa, Chad Green

The Rules

The rules for the Expansion Draft are relatively simple:

  1. Players from the previous two amateur/first-year player drafts are automatically protected. So this covers the 2014 and 2015 drafts.
  2. Any high school players signed three years prior, when they were age 18 or younger, is automatically protected. This also covers international players signed in 2013 and everyone in the 2014 International Free Agent spending spree.
  3. Any player who became a free agent at the completion of the 2015 season is not eligible to be protected. (Sorry, writers who wanted to protect Stephen Drew)
  4. For the first round, teams can choose 15 players from their entire organization they want to protect from being drafted.
  5. For the second and third rounds, three additional players can be protected for each round.
Notable players automatically protected: James Kaprielian, Ian Clarkin, Jacob Lindgren, Kyle Holder, Tyler Wade, Dustin Fowler

Seems simple enough, let's get started.

Protected Players

After tallying the picks from the staff, here's the breakdown of who the Pinstripe Alley staff would protect:

Round One Greg Bird Dellin Betances Nathan Eovaldi Didi Gregorius Aaron Judge Jorge Mateo Andrew Miller Michael Pineda Gary Sanchez Luis Severino Brett Gardner Rob Refsnyder Adam Warren Brian McCann Chasen Shreve
Round Two Domingo Acevedo John Ryan Murphy Bryan Mitchell
Round Three Masahiro Tanaka Justin Wilson Rookie Davis

The players were broken into the rounds by number of votes; more votes meant a player was protected earlier than others. Determining the last two spots in round one and the first two spots in round two got tricky as McCann, Shreve, Acevedo, and Murphy all received nine votes. I broke the tie by using my powers as Commissioner to make an executive decision.

First, I factored seniority/proximity to the majors (this pushed Acevedo to round two), and then importance to the team. McCann made it round one by virtue of being the starting catcher. While Sanchez is there to take the reigns, I'd rather not throw him into the fire just yet, so McCann has to be protected, and then I'd rather lose my backup catcher than a key bullpen member. Remember, Chapman is not a member of this bullpen yet, and Shreve was one of the most important members of the 2015 bullpen; he's certainly earned his spot in the first round. Plus, Romine will likely still be available to be the backup if Murphy gets drafted in the first round.

Unprotected Players

Obviously not everyone is going to agree on who to protect and who not to, but for the most part everyone agreed on who absolutely must be protected. If players didn't receive enough votes, however, they were left unprotected.

Others players receiving votes: Eric Jagielo (8), Chase Headley (5), Luis Torrens (5), Johnny Barbato (5), Brady Lail (3), Mason Williams (1), Dustin Ackley (1), Ben Gamel (1)

None of the names here come as too much of a surprise, both as players that received votes and as players who remained unprotected. The most notable hypothetical loss here would be Chase Headley, as without him the Yankees would be left without a starting third baseman. While he did struggle in 2015 and has a somewhat large contract (depending on who he's being compared to), depending on who else is available, if a team was willing to spend, one of the expansion teams would surely take a chance on Headley to be their MLB third-baseman while someone else they draft and develop gets ready.

Notable players not receiving votes: Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, Carlos Beltran, Ivan Nova

As much as #BAEROD is beloved by the team and fans now, it's hard to imagine any team taking on his contract, especially at his age. Assuming one American League team and one National League team is added, only the AL team would even consider taking on Rodriguez, but at the end of the day, they'd be able to find someone younger and less expensive to be a DH (possibly Beltran). The rest of the players also are in similar situations as Teixeira, Sabathia, and Beltran all are older and expensive players.

Considering Teixeira only has one year left on his contract, there's a chance a team would pick him up to play first base for a year, but Sabathia and Beltran are probably safe. Sabathia is under contract for two more years, and is well removed from his days of being an ace pitcher, and Beltran is useless on the field. Again, the AL team looking for a DH might pick him up for a year, but he still carries a $15 million contract so the chances of that are unlikely.

Do you agree with the players PSA's staff chose to protect? Are you happy we took over for Cashman? What would you do differently? Tell us in the comments!