The Yankees have continued to whittle down their spring training roster as the days of spring training are coming to a close. A few decisions are left to be made about who exactly will be on the Opening Day roster when the team heads to Houston for April 4th.
Gary Sanchez being cut from camp this week is certainly the biggest name to be sent down, but his removal from big league camp doesn't exactly come as a surprise. It seemed as though the Yankees really wanted Sanchez to be Brian McCann's backup, and even intended to make it his job to lose, but the catching prospect failed to put it together at the plate. He managed only one hit all spring.
This news isn't exactly tragic. Sanchez will now head to Triple-A to catch every day and continue getting better. He had a great year last year after some struggles in the past, so there is no need to rush him along. He'd likely get the call if something happened to McCann, and letting him start at Triple-A is the best way to prepare him for an emergency like that.
Slade Heathcott was also sent down this week after missing the team bus for a game. Maybe that's related or maybe it isn't, but the chances of Heathcott making the team out of spring training were pretty minimal anyway. The team doesn't really have room for another backup outfielder as long as everyone is healthy. Hopefully Heathcott does well enough at Triple-A to warrant being called up if someone's status changes.
Two relievers, James Pazos and Nick Rumbelow, were also sent down to minor league camp. Pazos was a standout in 2015, even getting the untouchable treatment at the trade deadline. He and Rumbelow both struggled in spring training with fairly ugly results. The good news is that the Yankees are not short on relievers and have plenty that are capable of filling in the innings between the starter and strong backend of the bullpen.
Familiar names like Nick Goody, Bryan Mitchell, Diego Moreno, and Branden Pinder still remain in camp to compete for the last couple spots in the bullpen. Newcomers Luis Cessa, Johnny Barbato, Anthony Swarzak, Tyler Olsen, and Kirby Yates are also trying to make the team as relievers. The only guaranteed spots at this point go to Chasen Shreve, Dellin Betances, and Andrew Miller. Aroldis Chapman will join the team on May 9th when his suspension is over.