The Yankees lost five players back in December during the Rule 5 Draft. In the minor league portion, the Reds took Mikey O'Brien, the Astros selected Ravel Santana, Felipe Gonzalez went to the Pirates, and Kelvin Castro was drafted by the Marlins. None of those players will be offered back to the Yankees, so there's no reason to worry about them any longer.
In the major league portion of the draft, players can be offered back to their original team if they don't stay on the active roster all season. Tom Kahnle, selected by the Colorado Rockies, could still make it back to the Yankees, depending on how spring training shakes out, so he's at least worth keeping in mind.
Before the draft, the Yankees saved Jose Campos, Shane Greene, Gary Sanchez, Slade Heathcott, and Bryan Mitchell by adding them to the 40-man roster. Of those left out who were eligible, it was believed that at least one of Kahnle, Danny Burawa, and Chase Whitley would be taken. With Kahnle gone, the other two were invited to spring training, and Whitley has a real chance of making the team. Kahnle, now with the Rockies, could do the same.
Drafted in the 5th round of the 2010 draft, Kahnle reached Double-A Trenton after four years as a professional. During that time, he impressed with a 12.0 K/9 out of the bullpen, but also showed control issues with a 5.2 BB/9. The Yankees decided to protect Greene after he improved his control from a 5.1 BB/9 in 2012 to 1.7 BB/9 in 2013. With Kahnle's control possibly heading the wrong way, the Yankees left him to chance, knowing that he could always come back to them.
In the end, it will all come down to what's going on in Rockies camp. Since I write about the Yankees and have no expert insight into what is going on in Rockies camp, I went to Jeff Aberle, the managing editor for SB Nation's Purple Row, to find out what he thought about Kahnle's chances of making the roster:
Kahnle is, in my mind, a long man in the pen or maybe a serviceable set up man at his realistic ceiling. If the Rockies decide to keep eight relievers out of camp, he's a contender to be in that slot. I think this is unlikely though, given the team's depth at relief pitcher (such as former Yankee Boone Logan) and a number of pitchers without minor league options (like Franklin Morales). Being a Rule 5 pick, Kahnle has to stay on the 25 man roster or DL all year, so I think that if he breaks camp with the team he'll stay the whole year unless he's actively hurting the team's chances to win.
It seems that if Kahnle makes the team out of spring training, he's going to make it through the year. If they go with a seven-man bullpen, LaTroy Hawkins, Boone Logan, and Rex Brothers are the three locks to make the team. Then there's the recently acquired Franklin Morales, and Adam Ottavino, Rob Scahill, and Wilton Lopez, who have been on the team through the last few seasons. That's seven potential relievers right there. Kahnle might be on the outside looking in now, but a strong performance this spring, among any number of factors, could put him into a better position for a roster spot.
Should we be rooting for him to fail over the next month? Continued control problems could lead the Rockies to give him back, but in that case, what would the Yankees really be winning? A 24-year-old middle reliever who can walk an entire Double-A lineup? Even if he makes it with the Rockies, his control issues could crop up and cause them to pull the plug. The best we can hope for is Kahnle coming out, doing what he does best, and seeing whether or not the Rockies decide to take him with them to start the season.
I believe that the Yankees could use someone like Kahnle, if he can improve his control. I hope that he comes back to the Yankees and I think there's a good chance that he will because there are just too many factors to consider for a player who isn't allowed to spend any time in the minors. It's just a matter of what the Rockies think.