Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Non-Roster Invitees Announced

At long last, the Yankees announced their non-roster invitees for Spring Training yesterday, tacking the list on to the tail end of the press release announcing the Marcus Thames signing. The announcement of the list comes just shy of the start of Spring Training, about a month later than it is usually announced, but most of the names on the list had either leaked previously or are no surprise.

A non-roster invitee is any player in camp who is not on the 40 man roster. Essentially the list is comprised of young prospects who don't yet need to be added to the 40 man, fringe prospects who aren't good enough to make the 40 man nor be selected in the Rule 5 draft, and veterans signed to minor league contracts. The Yankees' 40 man roster is currently full, so someone would need to be placed on the 60 day DL, traded, or designated for assignment in order for one of the twenty non-roster invitees to make the club. Very few of them have any real chance of making the team; most of them will serve to play the late innings of spring game and round out the split squad rosters. The Yankees have a lot of veterans on their team and none of them are likely to volunteer to make a three hour bus trip to Fort Myers.

That said, here's a look at the invitees:
Pitchers (10)
Wilkins Arias, LHP
Jeremy Bleich, LHP
Grant Duff, RHP
Jason Hirsh, RHP
Kei Igawa, LHP
Zach McAllister, RHP
Royce Ring, LHP
Amaury Sanit, RHP
Zach Segovia, RHP
Kevin Whelan, RHP
The lefties - yes even Igawa - have the best chance to earn a roster spot as second southpaw in the pen after Damaso Marte. To do so though, they'll have to leap frog Boone Logan, who was acquired as part of the Javier Vazquez trade. McAllister will be interesting to watch. He's the most polished starting pitcher in the organization and could see the Bronx at some point later in 2010. Hirsch, who has 150+ innings of experience with the Rockies and Astros, will likely start in Scranton. Bleich was a supplemental first round pick in 2008 but still figures to be a year or two away. Duff and Whelan are hard throwing relievers with control issues, both of whom just missed being added to the 40 man roster prior to the most recent Rule 5 draft.
Catchers (5)
Kyle Higashioka
Jesus Montero
P.J. Pilittere
Mike Rivera
Austin Romine
As exciting as it will be to see Montero and Romine in Major League camp, don't get your hopes about either sticking around. The Yankees will have 32 pitchers in camp and someone has to catch all those bullpen sessions. This actually will be the third consecutive year the young catching duo will be in Major League camp. Still, it'd be awfully nice to see these two top prospects do some damage at the plate this spring. It may not mean anything, but it'll certainly keep our hopes up for the future. Higashioka is another interesting prospect who figures to spend this year at low-A Charleston. Rivera has spent parts of the last four seasons as the Brewers' back up and is this year's Kevin Cash/Chad Moeller emergency option. Pilittere is an organizational player who should join Montero and Rivera in Scranton.
Outfielders (5)
Colin Curtis
Reid Gorecki
Marcus Thames
John Weber
David Winfree
Thames, as previously covered, will compete with Randy Winn and Jamie Hoffmann for the final two outfield spots. The rest of the invitees will likley combine with recent acquisition Greg Golson to make up the Scranton outfield. The Yankees' system is thin on upper-level outfield depth, particularly in the wake of dealing Austin Jackson, DFA'ing Shelley Duncan, and allowing John Rodriguez to walk this off-season. Curtis, coming off a strong stint in the Arizona Fall League, will be the only returnee from last year's AAA squad. Gorecki, Weber, and Winfree all spent last season in AAA for other teams. Gorecki and Weber are beyond prospect status, but Winfree is just 24 and may still have a future ahead of him.


  1. Igawa pitched great last spring and what did it get him?

  2. Nothing. And he could strike out every batter he faces this spring on three pitches and it would still get him nothing most likely.

    The point is, one of the few spots up for grabs on the roster is at the back end of the bullpen. Girardi LOVES to match up. Last spring he had two serviceable lefties in Marte and Coke, this year he has one.

    Boone Logan likely has the inside track since he's already on the 40 man. And I'd prefer the Yankees take the best pitcher for that spot, not just the best left-handed pitcher.

    The point is that amongst the 25 non-roster invitees in camp, the only players with a remote shot at making the roster are Thames and the left handed pitchers.