MLB teams finalized their 40-man rosters Friday. Only teams with spots still remaining can partake in the December 10th Rule 5 Draft, where teams can basically steal players from other organizations that are not on their 40-man roster, to give these players a fair chance. In this case, the Yankees filled up 7 of their 8 remaining spots on the 40-man, leaving one empty, giving them one selection in the Draft. The 7 players added to the 40-man from the Minor Leagues were OF Austin Jackson, right hander pitchers Ivan Nova, Romulo Sanchez and Hector Noesi, and 2B Reegie Corona, SS Eduardo Nunez and 2B Kevin Russo; keeping them all safe for another year.
Austin Jackson is now safe, which is most important, because it would ensure him a spot on the 25-man roster in the event that the Yanks don’t sign another long-term outfielder. Note: DH/OF Shelley Duncan was dropped from the 40-man roster, making him eligible to be drafted by another team. After winning IL MVP with 30 HR and 99 RBI, it is likely that we can say goodbye to Shelley.
Key Yankee Organizational Players That Filed
-RHP Humberto Sanchez (AAA) [acquired in Gary Sheffield trade] Good stuff, possible MLB future
-C Chris Stewart (AAA)- Backup catcher, hit .280 with 18 RBI
– 3B Eric Duncan (AAA)- 2003 1st-Round draft choice, a fan favorite who can field the ball and can also hit for power.
– IF Cody Ransom (AAA)- Backup for most of the 2009 season for the MLB Yanks, but also filled in for Alex Rodriguez at 3B for the first month of the season until he hurt his own quad. In 122 at-bats in the MLB in 08 and 09, he has a .230 avg, 4 HR and 18 RBI, and can also play the field.
-OF Freddy Guzman (AAA) [if you consider him a SWB Minor Leaguer, acquired from the Orioles at the ’09 deadline], extremely fast, can cover ground in the field. However,very little power. Solid player off the bench.
-OF John Rodriguez (AAA)- Signed by the Yankees as a non-drafted free agent in 1996. Spent time with the Cardinals, Mets and Rays. Good power.
I would re-sign Sanchez and Duncan, because they still have MLB futures ahead of them.
My Players to Watch that Filed from Other Teams
– RHP Clint Everts (*WAS)- Picked by the Expos (Nationals) 5th overall in 2002 draft. Good stuff, went 8-1 with a 1.65 ERA, 68 Ks, 26 BB in 60 IP in the minors in 2009. Just 23 years old.
– LHP Rich Hill (*BAL)- With the Cubs and Orioles, a career record of 21-20. Nasty curveball. Would make a good long relief man or spot starter.
– LHP Chris Capuano (*MIL)- Another lefty with a good curve. Has been hit by some injuries in recent years, but the Yankees could take their chances. I like him as another long reliever/spot starter.
– OF Chris Denorfia (*OAK)- Good all around player, can come off the bench if needed.
– LHP Gustavo Chacin (*PHI)- You may remember him as the guy with the glasses from the Blue Jays a few years back. 25-15 in his MLB career, went 9-4 with a 3.20 ERA for AAA Lehigh Valley.
– RHP Chad Cordero (*SEA)- Longtime Expos/Nationals closer, led the league in 2005 with 47 saves. Career 20-14 with a 2.78 and 128 saves. Could be a great pickup to pad the back end of the bullpen.
Other players to watch: 3B Travis Metcalf (*TB), LHP Javier Lopez (*BOS), RHP Phillip Humber (*MIN), C Eliezer Alfonzo (*SD), 3B Joe Thurston (*STL), 3B Dallas McPherson (*SF), OF Tim Raines Jr. (*KC), 2B Josh Barfield (*CLE).