Roster Moves

The Yankees added five players to their 40-man roster yesterday, making those guys ineligible for the Rule 5 draft. Let’s look at each one.

Right now, you would have to give David Phelps and D.J. Mitchell a solid chance of making the club as a starter. Phelps got hurt last year, but compiled a 3.19 ERA in 107 innings at Scranton. Mitchell threw 161 innings and compiled a 3.18. Phelps had better peripherals as he struck out more batters per nine while walking fewer. Phelps, Mitchell, Noesi and Adam Warren (3.60 ERA in 150+ AAA innings) are the types of players the Yankees should try at the back end of the rotation if they do not sign a “bigger” free agent.

The Yankees added two infielders, Corban Joseph and David Adams to the 40-man. Both are second basemen, which is interesting when you consider that Robinson Cano can be a free agent after 2013. Joseph his .275/.350/.413 at AA this year as a 22-year old. Adams will perhaps forever be known as the guy who scuttled the Cliff Lee trade when the Mariners didn’t like his medicals. They were right not to as Adams missed almost all of 2011, But, he came back and played 29 games between rookie ball and Tampa. He is almost 25, so time is not on his side, but he hit very well before getting hurt. Should be an interesting guy to watch.

Finally, the Yankees added Zoilo Almonte, an outfielder with a cool first name to the 40-man. Almonte didn’t do much in Trenton over 46 games, but he hit .293/.368/.514 in Tampa. He is 22, so he has time to develop.

It’s interesting that the Yankees chose to protect all five. Any player taken in the the Rule 5 draft has to stay on the major league roster for the entire season or be offered back to the original club. By protecting five, the Yankees only have one spot open on their 40-man for a free agent. While they could certainly cut a Melky Mesa, Greg Golson or Kevin Whelan, I wonder why they felt the need to protect a guy like Almonte, who seems very, very far from the bigs?

We shall see