One of the things I find myself doing when I am frustrated is that I start writing lists. Any kind of list. Following the Yankees first three games at home with the Red Sox, I may have outdone myself. As the Yankees limp to the finish line with Wild Card hopes still intact, but advancement beyond that very much in question, here are four lists of players currently on the roster. From these lists we can gain a little insight into the upcoming off season and the possibilities for the 2016 opening day roster.
List #1 We're Stuck With These Guy Through (Year)
DH Alex Rodriguez (2017) DH flexibility once he is gone
1B Mark Teixeira (2016) Greg Bird, are you ready?
SP CC Sabathia (2016) Maybe 2017 if shoulder holds up. What about his knee?
SP Masahiro Tanaka (2020) Unless he opts out after 2017
CF Jacoby Ellsbury (2020) The worst contract going forward?
C Brian McCann (2018) In the DH mix after ARod?
RF Carlos Beltran (2016) Will Aaron Judge be ready in 2017
List #2 We Could Trade Any of These Guys
3B Chase Headley Contract through 2018, but defense is suspect.
LF Brett Gardner Also signed through 2018. Manageable contract. Could he be gone?
RP Andrew Miller Highly unlikely to be traded. But Betances awaits his chance.
SP Nathan Eovaldi Could be dealt in rotation makeover.
SP Ivan Nova Never found the consistency and he was mentioned in July 31 rumors.
2B Dustin Ackley Utility player, second base answer or trade bait?
SP Michael Pineda Maybe there were no winners of Montero-Pineda trade?
RP Chasen Shreve Late season slump makes him expendable?
2B Rob Refsnyder Yanks don't seem to treat him like a top ten prospect.
P Bryan Mitchell Big league starter, long reliever or AAA starter all possible.
Note: Not to suggest all these players will be traded, but all could be dangled this off season. Gardner is the most intriguing. His contract is manageable for prospective suitors and there is an old baseball adage that it is better to trade a player a year too early than a year too late. Gardner at 31 seems to fit that perfectly. The Yankees could use a right handed bat for the outfield and with free agents like Cespedes and Upton, the Yankees could be interested in making some moves to boost their offense.
List #3 We Like These Guys
SP Adam Warren Not an ace, but a solid starter that was sent to the bullpen before called back to the rotation.
RP Justin Wilson Much needed left handed reliever. Solid 7th inning performer.
RP Dellin Betances Could be the closer of the future. He isn't going anywhere.
SS Didi Gregorius All Star shortstop in 2016? He is that good.
C John Ryan Murphy Solid number two behind McCann. Could be a backup at first base as well.
1B Greg Bird If A-Rod and Teixeira are healthy does he get enough ABs?
SP Luis Severino See what player development and sticking to your guns by not trading him can do?
OF Slade Heathcott If healthy, a very good option for 4th outfielder. Another reason Gardner could be dealt.
List #4 GONE, Please
P Chris Capuano Do I really need to say anything?
2B Steven Drew Poster child for "Yankees Love the Home Run Much to Their Own Peril"
IF Brendan Ryan Option for 2016 return, but should we care?
OF Chris Young Did a nice job in Pinstripes. Hate to see him go, but a likely victim of a roster crunch.
The big change would be dealing Brett Gardner. Certainly, he would draw some interest from teams looking for a center fielder and leadoff hitter. With guys like Heathcott and Mason Williams on the roster, the depth chart behind Ellsbury would have legitimate options. Then bring in an outfield free agent or make a surprise trade. Brian Cashman makes those kind of trades that no one sees coming, so the return in such a trade could also bolster the rotation or fix second base. A trade coupled with at least one big free agent signing, and the roster could be much stronger come Opening Day 2016. Judging from the recent struggles, really since the All Star Break, Cashman needs to make at least a move or two this winter.
Now I feel a little better.