The Yankees don’t have many roster spots up for grabs this spring, but the organization does have three big calls to make before the regular season begins.
For the Yankees, Spring Training is much more about getting guys ready for the regular season than watching players compete for roster spots. That doesn’t mean there’s no competition to make the team. GM Brian Cashman, manager Aaron Bone and the rest of the Yankees’ brain trust do have three roster battles to decide before the 2019 regular season begins.
In this piece, we’ll walk you through each of the three choices and make our prediction about what the Yankees will do. The battles for the last three spots on the roster may not seem all that important now, but the guys who “win” these battles will be counted on to make big contributions during the grind that is the regular season. The Yankees will not take any of these choices lightly.
We start by projecting a four-way battle for two spots in Boone’s bullpen.
Luis Cessa vs. Tommy Kahnle vs. Domingo German vs. Jonathan Loaisiga
We like to think of this as a Battle Royal of sorts. The vast majority of the Yankees bullpen has already been decided, but there are two spots at the end up for grabs. For the purposes of this piece, we are working under the assumption that Boone will break Spring Training with 13 pitchers. That leaves eight total spots in the bullpen.
Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton, Dellin Betances, Chad Green, Jonathan Holder and Adam Ottavino are locks to make the team barring injury. That leaves these four guys fighting it out for the last two slots.
Kahnle seems to be the safest guy in this group. He’s come into Spring Training in better shape this season and has touched 97 on the radar gun. His struggles last year make him a guy who needs to stay consistent until the team heads to New York, but he should be in good shape.
That leaves Cessa, German and Loaisiga to fight for the last slot. Loaisiga can be eliminated first because he should be the organization’s sixth starter to start the year. The plan will be to start him in AAA and keep him warm until one of the original five starters is forced to miss an outing or two.
Unfortunately for German, he is at a disadvantage against Cessa because he’s got one option left. That means the Yankees will most likely send him down to Trenton because they can’t make that move with Cessa. Don’t rule out the possibility of a trade here, but Cessa has the slight advantage for the second spot at the moment.