How Secure Are Their Roster Spots?
by James Vlietstra
July 7, 2022
The New York Yankees boasts baseball’s best record. Everything seems to be going right for the team in the Bronx.
But this doesn’t mean that the team we see now will still be the team we see as the playoffs roll around. Lots of transactions will take place. Some will be injury related, players going on and coming off the IL, some will be corresponding promotions and, inevitably there will be trades that take place prior to the August 2 trade deadline.
For every player that is acquired or returns from injury, someone has to be removed. So let’s go through the roster and determine whose spots are the safest.
Gerrit Cole- He has 6 ½ years and $234M remaining on his contract as well as a full No Trade Clause. He is not going anywhere.
Giancarlo Stanton- The Yankees owe him $142M over the next 6 ½ years and he also has a full No Trade Clause. He is not going anywhere.
DJ LeMahieu- Has 4 ½ years and $67M left on his contract that includes a No Trade Clause this year. He is not going anywhere.
Aaron Judge- The best player on the best team. You add to him and his $9.5M remaining for this year. If they were out of it and unwilling to meet his contract demands of $300M+ when he hits free agency this winter, you think about trading him off. However, any World Series this year is from the historical year he’s delivering.
Josh Donaldson- He is owed $38M over the next 2 ½ years. The 36-year is providing solid defense at third and timely hitting. I can’t imagine they move him.
Anthony Rizzo- If he doesn’t opt out, he’s owed $24M through next year. I can see him looking for 3/$50 after his resurgence this year. Regardless, he’s our first baseman this year.
Aroldis Chapman- He’s an impending free agent that’s owed $9M for the remainder of the year. He also has 10/5 rights, granting him a No Trade Clause. They will continue to throw him out there hoping he finds his command. If not he will likely finish the year with a phantom IL stint rather than an embarrassing DFA.
Aaron Hicks- Has $36M due him over the next 4 ½ years. Over the last 2 years his OPS is .626. This is who he is. Decent outfielder with decent speed and arm with below average offense. But his salary is easily moved. If they make a move for a starting left fielder, they could turn around and deal him and maybe get a lottery ticket or two if they eat some of his future salary. Chance of finishing the year in NY: 85%
Luis Severino- Owed $8M if contract for next year is bought out. I fully anticipate that they pick up his $15M option for 2023 as he has proven to be a very reliable starting pitcher.
Joey Gallo- Owed about $5M as he approaches his first free agency winter. Not an ideal year to have an OPS of .602, down from .808 last year. He is still in his prime and has a track record of being able to produce. Just not in NY for some reason. Three of the players the Yankees traded for him have already reached the Majors, however this isn’t about saving face anymore. Time to cut bait with him, get some kind of return and for his sake maybe he reestablishes some value before he hits free agency. Chance of finishing the year in NY: 40%
Gleyber Torres- He is going to earn $3M the rest of the year. Has 2 more years of arbitration ahead of him. Likely gets in excess of $10M next year. Actually still has options remaining. Key part of this team.
Jordan Montgomery- Also owed $3M and likely to get close to $10M in his final year of arbitration. On track for 180 IP, which will be about 25 innings more than his previous career high.
Jameson Taillon- Free agent proving that all his health ailments are behind him. Owed $3M to finish this year. Look for the Yankees to ride this horse heavily down the stretch as he justifies a 5 year/ $130M contract as a 31 next year. This has been one of Brian Cashman’s best trades as far as turning value into a possible championship.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa- The defensive specialist will earn another $2.5M this year and has one more year of arbitration remaining, likely for approximately $7M. He has strengthened the defense, but there’s definitely room for improvement, whether from within or from outside the organization. He still has options remaining. Chance of staying in NY:90%.
Wandy Peralta- Owed $1M this year and has another year of arbitration, probably around $4M. Has been a solid dependable arm in the bullpen. Role will continue. If for some reason his production did drop off, he has options remaining.
Matt Carpenter- Free Agent that is only owed $1M the rest of the way. Veteran utility player that genuinely seems to embrace his role off the bench. Plays infield and outfield. I suggest bringing him back next year in a similar role.
Marwin Gonzalez- Another free agent utility player off the bench, owed even less. A few weeks ago I would have suggested moving on from him, but he’s literally played every position except pitcher, catcher, and center field. The makeup of the team reminds me of the late 90s. Don’t mess with it.
Clay Holmes- A super bargain. The team’s closer and best pitcher owed half a million dollars this year and has 2 arbitration years left. Next year he’ll still only make around $3M.
Kyle Higashioka- Also owed about a half a million and has 2 arbitration years left. As bad as Gallo and Hicks have been, Higashioka has been worse. He is completely lost at the plate. His OPS is a paltry .508. He gets rave reviews from the pitching staff which collectively is the best in the sport. That’s likely what is keeping him around. Chance of staying in NY: 85%
Lucas Luetge- 35 year old feel good story. Making just above the minimum with 2 years of arbitration remaining. So long as he keeps producing, he’s an important cog of the bullpen.
Nestor Cortes Jr- Makes league minimum and has 3 years of arbitration remaining. If the team was out of it, he’d bring back quite a haul. However, as a championship contender you have to keep the potential All Star. He is already at 85 IP and his career high is 93, set last year. Skipping his spot in the rotation down the stretch should keep him fresh.
Michael King- League minimum with 3 arbitration years and options left. He is a dominant contributor in the bullpen that would only be sent down as part of a numbers game so they don’t lose anyone.
Jose Trevino- Starting catcher, making the minimum, producing offensively and defensively and has options left. What a steal he has been. Only cost the Yankees an A Ball pitcher and Albert Abreu.
Albert Abreu- Speaking of Abreu, after stints with the Rangers and Royals he’s back with the Yankees. He has no options left, but still has 5 years of team control. If he can harness his pitching control, his stuff is overpowering and he’s had a decent year. However, the caveat is why he’s on his third team in 3 months. He’s here until he fails. Chance of finishing the year in NY: 50%
Miguel Castro- Key part of the bullpen. Put on Restricted List for the birth of his child. Will be back on Tuesday after a roster move. Will be a free agent. Probably should get 3/$15M.
Zack Britton- Recovering from TJS. Is still owed $7M and has every intention of making it back in time to be taken off the 60-Day IL and contributing towards a title run. Roster moves will have to be made to get him back on the 40-man as well as the active roster. He’ll be 35 next year but I can see him signing a 2/$12M deal.
Chad Green- is out for the year with TJS. He’s a free agent that made $4M this year. Possibly gets 2/$7M in the off-season. Has been a great Yankees over the years.
Domingo German- Rehabbing back from injury. Has an option left, but likely comes up to take the Cortes spot in the rotation. The dog days of August is a good time to use a 6-man rotation. He has 2 years of arbitration left. Probably should get $3.5M next year.
Jonathan Loasiga- working his way back from injury. Is he the same dominant pitcher from last year or the -0.8 WAR pitcher from the spring. That’s going to determine if he stays in the majors or gets optioned down. 2 years of arbitration left. $3M next year.
JP Sears- Has several options left, and possibly 6 years of team control. One issue that is potentially going to arise is the new rule that limits the amount of times he can be optioned in a year.
Ryan Weber- candidate to be promoted , DFA’d, resigned to minors and repeat. He was successful last time he was used no reason to not try him again if the need presents itself.
Clarke Schmidt- Currently scheduled to become a free agent in 2027 but has options remaining beyond this year so service time can be manipulated. In the minors getting stretched out as a possible starter down the stretch.
Ron Marinaccio- recently moved to the IL with shoulder stiffness. Shoulders are scary. He was a vital member of the bullpen but he could be out for an extended time frame. Multiple options left, 6 years of control.
Luis Gil- out for the year with TJS. Team could potentially put him on the 60-day IL to open up a roster space. In doing so, he would accrue service time which could cost a lot of money down the road.
Stephen Ridings- on the 60-Day IL. Can’t be a free agent until at least 2028. Has multiple options left. Shoulder injury, currently not throwing.
Miguel Andujar- Been hot in the minors. But only has a .555 OPS during his time in the majors. Not exactly an improvement from what they have. Last year of options then 2 years of arbitration. Nice depth piece but if trades are made he’s expendable. Chance of staying with NY: 70%
Estevan Florial- Hasn’t had an opportunity to play in the majors but has .902 OPS in AAA His last year of options and under team control until 2028. Capable defensive upgrade. Depth piece that likely succeeds once changing scenery. Chance of finishing the year in NY: 60%
Ben Rortvedt- been on the 60-Day IL all year. Has options remaining in case he does return.
Tim LoCastro- Yankees have him stashed in the minors for possibly bringing him up for a speedster off the bench during the playoffs. It’s his last option year and he’s a possible candidate to lose his spot on the 40-man.