Via Chad Jennings comes news that the Yankees will be adding 5 minor leaguers to the 40-man roster, protecting them from being drafted by other teams in the upcoming Rule V Draft. The 5 are RHP David Phelps, RHP DJ Mitchell, 2b David Adams, 2b Corban Joseph, and OF Zoilo Almonte. Several of these guys could have a role on the 2012 Yankees, while the others had enough value as prospects that there would be some concern about another team poaching them.
The addition of David Phelps and DJ Mitchell, two advanced AAA pitchers, is a no-brainer. Both could play important roles for the Yankees this season as starting pitching depth, and would likely be taken by another team looking for a young, cheap arm to compete for a rotation spot. With his placement on the 40-man, Phelps likely becomes the first callup in the event of an injury to a starter (assuming Hector Noesi ends up on the major league roster again), and Mitchell could be in line for an emergency start or bullpen role (where many people think he projects best).
None of the three position players protected figure to see any significant time in the major leagues before September (unless disaster strikes in the form of multiple injuries). Adams might be the most attractive option to a team looking for a 2nd baseman with advanced hitting ability, though he missed significant time to because of an ankle injury last season. Joseph is also a solid hitter who may not project as well defensively as Adams, but an interested team could still take a flier on him. As for Almonte, he restored his prospect status last year with a strong season between Tampa and Trenton. Like Melky Mesa last year, he is far from being major league ready, but his tools and ability could cause a team to have interest in him.
I have no quibbles with any of these additions, and don’t see any major exclusions that would bother me. There will likely still be dead weight on the 40 man like Kevin Whelan or Colin Curtis, who the Yankees could afford to designate for assignment in the event that a roster spot is needed for another addition. By adding all of these players to the roster, the Yankees are not only improving their depth in the event of injury, but also, maintaining a stash of trade chips that could be useful to the team this offseason, at the trade deadline, or going forward.
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