In the early weeks of the season, the Yankees depth has been tested with many injuries and underperforming players. In fact, there are nine players on the 40-man roster that are on the DL (Tommy Kahnle, Adam Warren, Luis Cessa, Billy McKinney, Greg Bird, Brandon Drury, Jacoby Ellsbury, Clint Frazier, & Albert Abreu). With this many injuries, depth is tested and it becomes important to see who has Minor League options remaining to facilitate roster moves.
All players have three option years that can be used during their first five years after being added to a 40-man roster. Any year that a player spends at least 20 days in the Minors, he loses an option. Once three option years are used OR five years are up, the player is considered out of options. You can read here for more details. Once a player is out of options, he cannot be sent down to the Minors without first passing through waivers. The Yankees ran into this problem with Trayce Thompson a few weeks ago. They claimed him and wanted to send him to Triple-A, but he was out of options and when they put him on waivers, the A’s claimed him. Thus the Splash Brother era for the Yankees was over before it began. We’re going to take a quick look at each of the Yankees that are now out of options and see what impact, if any, that might have for the team.
For better or for worse, Romine is entrenched as the Yankees backup catcher. The staff seems to love throwing to him and he has an uncanny ability to get hits with runners on base. The Yankees have no plans of sending him down, so it is okay that he is out of options.
Shreve is the most interesting case, in my opinion. He is the seventh option out of the bullpen and he is more than adequate for that role. However, bullpens tend to get taxed very easily these days, and it would be nice to be able to send guys down after being heavily used one day. Unfortunately, the Yankees can’t do that with Shreve anymore. With that in mind, they may opt to have him throw shorter outings and use guys on the Scranton Shuttle™ for those longer outings knowing that they can send those relievers down.
When Dellin is right, he’s practically unhittable. Sadly he has not been right for the better part of two years. Normally you might send a guy like that to the minors to work on things, but the Yankees cannot do that for Dellin anymore. He will remain in the big league pen and hopefully return to his dominant self.
This one is easy. Hicks is the starting center fielder and is crushing it. Would not send him down for any reason.
Easiest one of all. Starting catcher and best hitting catcher in baseball. Passed ball problems aside, there is no reason to send Gary down at all.
The bullpen is the only area where players without options remaining presents a concern. For the Yankees to make bullpen moves, they either have to send down the last guy in the bullpen or have injuries (of which there have been plenty already). Luckily the Yankees have a supremely talented roster that shouldn’t need much roster shuffling.