The next important roster date is less than a day away, as teams have until midnight tonight to decide whether to tender or not tender contracts to their arbitration-eligible players. The Yankees have more than a handful of those guys, albeit fewer than they did at the start of the offseason now that Francisco Cervelli has been traded. Three of the 6 AE players are no-brainers to be tendered contracts: David Phelps, Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova. It's the other 3 that will be the real story later tonight. The 3 players in question are David Huff, Esmil Rogers, and Shawn Kelley. With 39 players on the 40-man roster and plenty of holes to fill, Huff and Rogers both seem like surefire goners. Huff has been plucked off the DFA heap in each of the last 2 seasons, so he's really not a high-value commodity. The additions of Justin Wilson and Jose De Paula, and the presence of prospects Lindgren and Webb in Triple-A makes Huff far less needed now than he was in August. Rogers really just isn't a good pitcher (career 5.54 ERA/4.43 FIP). Not much debate there.
Kelley is the potentially interesting case. He seems like a lock to get an offer considering he's been an important part of the middle relief group for the last 2 years. But there are multiple people on the IIATMS staff who are not high on Kelley and have made cases recently for why he could and should be non-tendered, and I have to admit, they've started to convert me. Kelley falls firmly into the category of "good but not great" even at his best and he has been inconsistent during his 2 years here. He's due to make about $2.5 mil in his final year of eligibility and that could be seen as a high price to pay for a guy who's going to end up being the 4th or maybe 5th best reliever in the Yankee bullpen next year. I could see the Yanks, who appear to be in penny pinch mode again this offseason, letting him go and using that 2.5 mil elsewhere.
We'll see what happens later tonight, but one thing is definitely for sure. The Yankees will have a few more open roster spots after the deadline passes. Maybe then they'll finally sign somebody of value.