But here we are at the Ides of March, the Yankees' second to last off day before they break camp. We're into Daylight Savings Time and less than three weeks from Opening Night. The team plans to roll out their presumptive Opening Night line up for Tuesday's game, which features Nick Johnson and Robinson Cano in the much debated two and five holes respectively. The regulars will be sticking around a bit longer in upcoming games and Joe Girardi has informed the pitchers that their performances are starting to matter.
Of course, as the starting nine goes a bit deeper into games, fewer players are required in camp. To that end, the Yankees made their first two rounds of cuts Friday and yesterday, optioning or reassigning the following players to minor league camp:
PitchersNo major surprises here. Brackman, Garcia, and De La Rosa are the only guys on the 40 man roster and none had any realistic chance of making the team. McAllister and Bleich aren't too far off from contributing but both need more time in the minors and neither has been added to the 40 man roster yet. Arias and Mitchell definitely need more time in the minors as they have only risen as high as AA and high A respectively. Duff and Whelan are high level minor leaguers who profile as fringe-type, back of the bullpen relievers. They're no more palatable than the likes of Jonathan Albaladejo, Mark Melancon, Romulo Sanchez, and others who are already on the 40 man and are longshots to make the team.
Wilkin De La Rosa
With ten fewer pitchers in camp, fewer catchers are needed. Higashioka and Gil are the low men on the organizational totem pole, so they're the first to go. Higashioka is considered a prospect and will likely be the primary catcher in low-A Charleston this year; Gil is organizational filler.
Lastly of course, there is Kei Igawa, about whom much ink and venom has been spilled. I suppose the most remarkable thing about Igawa's early cut is that he was amongst the first players to go despite the team's lack of a clear-cut second lefty for the bullpen. Given Girardi's penchant for playing match ups, I suppose this speaks volume as to how little the organization thinks of Igawa. At this point, I don't understand why the team doesn't ship him to a pitching poor NL team where he might be a useful part. Whatever they get for him - salary relief, a C-level prospect, Jamie Hoffmann's rights, a bag of BP balls - would be of more value than Igawa himself. Perhaps his early departure is a sign that the team is serious when they say they plan to carry the twelve best pitchers, regardless of role or handedness.