40-man roster issues make further dealings difficult


While the Yankees have made three significant additions this winter, the wheeling and dealing might not be over yet. The Yanks still have a few areas they could choose to address from outside the organization. This means looking to the remaining free agents and to the trade pool. As fans we’re quick to speculate on moves which would help the team. The team, however, has a different mode of thought.

One aspect I don’t see many accounting for is the 40-man roster, which is currently full. This has a significant effect on how the Yankees will build out their 2009 team. Some fans might have wanted to see the Yanks take fliers on the guys the Red Sox picked up recently: Brad Penny, John Smoltz, Takashi Saito, Rocco Baldelli. However, the Yankees are ill equipped to handle such gambles. Each of the four signed a major league deal, meaning they require a 40-man roster spot.

Looking at the current 40-man, there doesn’t seem to be many players the Yanks would consider moving. The only position player they could possibly DFA would be Cody Ransom. He’d likely pass through waivers and head back to the Yanks farm system. However, the Yanks would need to add either him or Angel Berroa to the 40-man prior to Opening Day, so that just pushes the problem on Future Brian Cashman.

On the pitching end, I suppose the Yanks could DFA Chase Wright, but he throws with his left arm so that’s doubtful. The lesser arms — Anthony Claggett, Michal Dunn, Chris Garcia, Eric Hacker, Steven Jackson — were recently added to the roster. It’s not like Cashman used up a spot just to DFA the player later. There just isn’t much room for the team to maneuver right now.

Perhaps this is why the Yanks haven’t stolen Juan Cruz. He makes more sense for them than for the teams which would have to surrender a first rounder. Yet the Yanks can’t make a move because they don’t have much if any 40-man flexibility. If they’re going to sign another free agent, they’d probably have to swing a trade somewhere, perhaps a two-for-one that would free up a roster spot. Otherwise, there’s not much the Yanks can really do.

Categories : Hot Stove League


  1. Phil McCracken says:

    I think if the choice was Juan Cruz or Chase Wright, I’d let Wright go in a nano second.

    Wasn’t impressed with him at all during his Indians start or his infamous Red Sox start. He never seemed to be confident in throwing the ball over the plate. And when he did, it got crushed.

  2. AARON says:

    your going to judge someone on 2 starts?? come on

  3. Don says:

    I don’t think the Yanks are going to let Eric Hacker stand in the way of them acquiring a key contributor for the 25 man roster.

    The folks at RAB are starting to think too much like the MSM.

  4. huuz says:

    well whatver moves they make, they officially have 1 month before pitchers and catcher report! i’m excited.

  5. If they trade Nady, they should try to get one or both of Jackson/Claggett in the deal. Neither one of those guys is really going to have much of a chance moving forward, with Marte, Robertson, Bruney, Melancon, Veras, Ramirez, etc.

  6. DP says:

    Does anyone know how the MLB network is doing ratings wise?

  7. Jamal G. says:

    Wow, in their Prime 9 show, MLB Network is using ERA+ as a marker for to judge the top nine pitching seasons of all time. This is a proud day in baseball history.

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi says:

      Dennis Eckersley really loves him some Ron Guidry, huh?

    • Pastafarian says:

      Yeah, but it ultimately puts Pedros 2000 season at number 1.

      • Jamal G. says:

        His 1997 season – or 1999 for that matter – might have something to say about that.

      • Jamal G. says:

        Oh, never mind, I just realized the way you worded that means that you saw this episode earlier.

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi says:

        Um, Pedro was dominant in 2000. Are we just not acknowledging how great he was because he played in Boston?

        • Jamal G. says:

          In 1997, Pedro Martinez struck out 21 more batters than he did in 2000, albeit in 34.1 fewer innings. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way arguing 2000 was an inferior season to 1997, overall. However, I am giving credence to just how amazing this dude is that three of his seasons (1997, 1999 and 2000) are arguably the nine best in MLB history.

          • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi says:

            Yeah I hear you, but I didn’t argue anything about Pedro’s 2000 season vs. any of his other seasons.

          • Don says:

            Yanks were 2-1 vs. Pedro in 2000, and 3-1 in games he started.

            Love it.

          • Mike A. says:

            Maddux’s ’95 season was sick.

            0.811 WHIP & 1.63 ERA in 209.2 IP? That’s nuts.

            And the fact that Maddux issued just 392 unintentional walks in 496 starts since the 1994 season just boggles the mind.

            • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

              Which was his follow-up to his 1994 campaign

              IP-202 H-150 R-44 ER-35 SO-156 ERA-1.56 ERA+271 WHIP-0.896

              . . and may be the best 2 consecutive seasons in MLB history. Pedro’s 99-2000 stretch was just as good, but not better. Check this out

              Total ERA +
              Pedro 99/2000-243+291=534

              Talk about a dead heat. Maddux was a tad more consistent, Pedro was more brilliant one year. I’m big on consistency, so I’ll take Maddux. But it’s a beauty contest.

              Clemens 97-98 run with the Blue Jays was also impressive, but reports say he started growing a tail by late 1998.

              • Sweet Dick Willie says:

                While it’s very close, especially with Pedro, I’ll take Sandy Koufax’s last two seasons (’65 & ’66) against both Pedro’s and Maddux’s. He was 18 games over .500 in each year, pitched 658 innings and SO 699.

                Koufax also had a four year stretch (’63-’66) where his highest WHIP was .985 and his highest ERA was 2.04 (he led the NL in ERA for 5 years in a row). His worst SO/BB was 4.21, his best was 5.38, and his average was 4.74 during that stretch.

                And while Maddux won four consecutive Cy Young’s, Koufax won 3 out of 4 years UNANIMOUSLY, when the award was for the best pitcher in the ML, not each league.

                • While I’d agree with you that Koufax’s ’65 and ’66 seasons can go toe to toe with anyone, the wins and awards don’t hold much sway as evidence. Bad evaluating metrics.

                  Maury Wills was the 1962 MVP. And Diasuke Matzusaka could be 18 games over .500 in 2008 and 2009, if his luck continues.

                • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi says:

                  “And Diasuke Matzusaka could be 18 games over .500 in 2008 and 2009, if his luck continues.”

                  I agree wins don’t hold much sway… But Koufax was actually 18 games over .500 in EACH of those seasons, not over the course of those two seasons. So no, Matsuzaka can’t match that in ’08/’09.

                • Sweet Dick Willie says:

                  Agree that awards are not a good indication of how well a player performed, but was just pointing out that there was only one Cy Young for all of baseball back then and Koufax won 3 of them unanimously.

                  Also, Dice-K was only 15 over .500 last year. So in order to equal Koufax’s 36 over for a two year period, he would have to be 21 over this year, and I don’t see that happening at all. With his fear of bats, I think he will regress to something more like his 2007.

                  One thing I failed to consider when I first looked at this was that in ’99 & 2000, Pedro did it against PED users, so that’s another plus for him.

                • Yeah, I’m just resorting to a bit of hyperbole to say that I generally think citing awards won sucks (because sportswriters are stupid chowderheads) and citings wins sucks (since shitty pitchers frequently have great W/L records and vice versa).

                  But I will admit that being 18 over .500 twice and winning four straight Cy Youngs is rather atypical.

      • I Remember Celerino Sanchez says:

        This comment prompted me to look at Pedro’s numbers, and … wow.

        His WHIP in 2000 was 0.737. He pitched 217 innings and only gave up 128 hits and 32 walks while striking out 284.

        That is insane. I knew he was good, but I guess I blocked out just how good.

        • I can’t wait to hear the rationalizations by the 30-odd “journalists” who leave him off their HoF ballots a few years from now. Like the 28 guys who didn’t vote for Rickey this year.

          The Mike and Mike show tracked down one of these assclowns to ask him how he could refuse to vote for Rickey. His response: “I didn’t like the way Rickey ‘dogged it’. I was protest voting against him; I have no problem with him being in the Hall, and I’d have voted for him next year if given the chance.”

          You didn’t like the way he “dogged it”?

          YOU DIDN’T LIKE THE WAY HE DOGGED IT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

          I wish I remembered the name of the voter in question, but that knuckledragger deserves to have his vote taken away, and then he should be spayed AND neutered to help control the idiot population.

  8. Jamal G. says:

    What about Dan Giese? He seems more than expendable.

    • Marcus says:

      Giese was one of our best relief pitchers last season. I would hate to see him go.

      • TurnTwo says:

        oh stop… he’s exactly the kind of player who you should be thankful you got what you did out of him when you did, and move on.

        • Doug says:

          agree that giese should be the one to go. we have several other giese-type guys in the minors already

          • Jay CT says:

            Well, according to Max Kellerman… Giese was “dominate” and projects to be “one of the more dominate relievers in baseball if you take his numbers before he got hurt and apply over a full season.”

            Yeah. There is a reason I hate that guy and stopped listening

            • According to Max Kellerman, Eli Manning is the best player in all of football and he’s the guy you should take with the first overall pick if you held an all-leaguewide draft. Also, either Manning, Brandon Jacobs, Justin Tuck, or possibly Plaxico Burress… one of those guys was definitely the 2008 NFL MVP, and Eli is way better than Peyton Manning. Oh, and Tom Coughlin is the best leader of men since Moses and Abraham.

        • I Remember Celerino Sanchez says:

          Let’s not enshrine Giese in Cooperstown yet, but let’s also not e quick to dispatch someone who did a good job and might fit a need. The Yanks need a long man, and he has shown he’s comfortable going back and forth. We don’t konw if Aceves would adjust as well.

          I’d like to see Giese in camp.

  9. Januz says:

    This is a team that is focussed on one thing and one thing only……….. Being the best at whatever they do. From having a superior stadium to Citi Field, to CC, AJ. & Tex, right down to new stadium patches. They will not allow the 40th man on the roster to prevent them from improving the team.
    I think a prime reason for NOT signing Juan Cruz is Mark Melancon. This guy is an untouchable in the eyes of Brian Cashman, and they are grooming him to replace Mariano Rivera (Talk about a difficult situation). He needs to be in the big leagues to get that process going, not be blocked from the majors.

  10. Januz says:

    This is a team that is focussed on one thing and one thing only……….. Being the best at whatever they do. From having a superior stadium to Citi Field, to CC, AJ. & Tex, right down to new stadium patches. They will not allow the 40th man on the roster to prevent them from improving the team.
    I think a prime reason for NOT signing Juan Cruz is Mark Melancon. This guy is an untouchable in the eyes of Brian Cashman, and they are grooming him to replace Mariano Rivera (Talk about a difficult situation). He needs to be in the big leagues to get that process going, not be blocked from the majors.

  11. Old Ranger says:

    Claggetti, I would not move, to much up side and to early to see if he will realize his potential. If he doesn’t show enough improvement this year…may be a trade would be in the works for next year, how knows.
    And what’s all thing talk of trading Aceves, Melancon, Sanchez etc.? Some of our guys will need to be traded (sometime) but, this is not the time to do any trading…to many guys still out there to be had. Let things settle down and have teams call us, not us calling them…always deal from strength.

  12. While I’m not sure Cashman feels like tinkering with the bullpen, what about moving Edwar Ramirez or Jose Veras?

    Are you guys not suggesting that because that’d be a bad move on the part of the Yankees, Team B, or you just haven’t considered it?

    • Brooklyn Ed says:

      I’m sure there will be teams that is in need of a bullpen arm that doesnt wanna give up their draft pick by signing someone like Juan Cruz.

    • That’s a good point. I like Edwar but I just don’t see how he’s going to be consistent until he can locate better. Then again, I wonder what he’s really worth to another club.

      • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

        I don’t give up Edwar, I’d move Veras myself. We have 3 righty power arms in the pen (Bruney/Veras/Sanchez) who are all basically the same pitcher, hard throwers with so-so control. Edwar is a change of pace. I like having different looks out there, and Edwar can be useful when you want to roll the dice with his swing and miss ability.

    • andrew says:

      Edwar and Veras are low cost guys who are assets to the team. I don’t see what they could do with them besides a throw in to another deal. They certainly won’t be the centerpiece of any deal.

    • Mike Pop says:

      I would think you package one of them (Veras/Edwar) with Nady. I like the idea that Nomaas has up. Their pen isn’t so hot right? Maybe if you throw one of them in you can get another guy with some upside while clearing up the 40-man a bit.

      • Sweet Dick Willie says:

        So wait. You want to trade Nady AND Veras or Edwar for a reliever? And just what reliever do you think is worth that package?

  13. Any reason to think of Hacker as a starter? All I’ve heard on him is “bullpen” but he was pretty solid in AA last year, albeit as a 26 year-old.

  14. Steven Jackson isn’t impressive to me, either, as he is one of the few guys on the 40-man who has been essentially labeled a reliever for life. Weak performance outside of 2008, also.

  15. Pete Abraham says:

    Isn’t Eric Hacker the personal hitting coach of Robinson Cano?

    I think Wright, Giese, Ransom and Claggett could be taken off the 40-man without much cause for alarm.

  16. Chris P. says:

    My brother and I were talking about this exact thing earlier today. How about signing Chuck James to a minor league deal. He had a horrible year last year, but other than that he’s been solid in is career before that, was great in the minors before last year, is left handed, and would only cost money. You think a minor league deal would be possible for him??

    • As I understand it (and i admit I could be wrong) minor league deals, though, don’t adversely affect the 40-man, so I’m not sure that’s a concern right now.

      • Chris P. says:

        That’s my point, while it would be great to go after one of the premier free agents left, it might make more sense to go after a guy like James. He’s at least proven that he’s capable of being a back of the rotation guy, and he won’t take up a roster spot. Plus it’ll just give the Yanks one more arm to help prevent a Ponson III, which, I think we all agree, would be a good thing.

        • Considering that Chuck James’s three big league seasons have amounted to a total of 55 starts with FIP’s of 5.14, 5.48, and 8.36, I’d disagree with your assessment that he’s “proven that he’s capable of being a back of the rotation guy”.

          I think he’s proven he’s capable of pitching like a Ponsnerian disaster. He’s still young, and so I agree that giving him a minor league tryout isn’t a horrid idea, but I think you need to tamper your expectations there.

    • iYankees says:

      His arm is a mess. I’d be weary of Chuck.

  17. Mike Pop says:

    Heh, Jon Heyman just said the Yankees coiuld be a landing spot for Mike Young on MLB network. BUT good for him he said it is not likely to happen.

  18. AMS223 says:

    what about this kid Austin Maxwell from the Nats…a 6’5 CFer coming back from a plethora of injuries (nothing too worrisome just some broken bones from diving and such). He is 25 and has a whole bunch of tools (side note he was accepted to harvard). If he is the center part of a deal with the nats i would be happy. Do you all know anything about him?

    • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

      Sounds like an injury prone project and Mike Cameron clone. The Yanks want to win now, so dealing someone who can help you THIS year in Nady for someone who might help you down the road makes little sense to them.

      He’s also barely played in the bigs, so it sounds too risky to me. Nats may offer him, but I doubt the Yanks pull the trigger.

    • Andy says:

      Who gives a flying F that he got accepted to Harvard, that is completely irrelevant. He’s a 25 year old who has yet to make it to the bigs. PASS.

    • Lasoo says:

      I don’t think I’d make him the center part of a deal. but maybe he could be part of a trade involving someone like Kearns (not necessarily him, but someone who can help now). We probably would have to expand the deal a little, but maybe- Nady, Veras, C+/B- pitching prospect for Kearns, Maxwell, low A prospect?

      • Sweet Dick Willie says:

        Kearns is .260/.354/435. Nady is .280/.335/.458. If Cash is going to trade Nady (and I don’t think he will), he most certainly will get a better return than that.

  19. ryan says:

    juan miranda can go since he’s blocked fo rthe next 8yrs and has no use other than 1B and against righties, why get rid of pitching?

  20. MattG says:

    “Dodgers Sign Guillermo Mota”

    See, this is the sort of thing that can be avoided. Just ask Brian! He’s got about 47 relief pitchers better and cheaper than Mota.

  21. [...] 40-man roster issues make further dealings difficult  /  1/13 Winter Ball Report [...]

  22. The Honorable Congressman Mondesi says:

    If ever there was a comment that should be deleted by the site administrators, this has got to be it.

  23. But it’s… someone pretending to be Pete Abraham!!! Who would want to do that?

  24. The Honorable Congressman Mondesi says:

    I haven’t been around much the last few days, has someone been impersonating Pete Abe?

    Even if it’s someone pretending to be Pete Abe, your comment still fails the funny-test. Try harder.

  25. Dude, maybe my sense of cool is fucked up at 1.30 in the morning, but that certainly wasn’t it.

  26. Ok then. If it makes you feel any better I spent an entire interval of ten seconds thinking about it, so I am sorry.

  27. Joseph P. says:

    Except it is him. That wasn’t exactly the nicest thing you could have done.

  28. The Honorable Congressman Mondesi says:

    Go home.

    (Kidding. Let’s be a little nicer and funnier and put this one to bed.)

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