Sunday marked a milestone in the slow march towards baseball in 2020, as teams around the league had to release their Spring Training 2.0 Rosters, made up of 60 players. The players listed are to report to Yankee Stadium on Wednesday for Spring Training.
Here’s a breakdown of the roster:
Starting pitchers: Gerrit Cole, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, J.A. Happ, Jordan Montgomery, Jonathan Loaisiga, Mike King, Deivi Garcia, Luis Gil, Luis Medina, Nick Nelson, Miguel Yajure, Clarke Schmidt, Nick Tropeano, Albert Abreu
Relief pitchers: Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton, Adam Ottavino, Tommy Kahnle, Chad Green, Jonathan Holder, Luis Cessa, Ben Heller, Brooks Kriske, Domingo Acevedo, David Hale, Tyler Lyons, Dan Otero, Alexander Vizcaino, Daniel Alvarez, Luis Avilan, Tony Zych, Adonis Rosa
There really are not many surprises or missing names on this list. The only one that pops out is Matt Duffy, who the Yankees signed Sunday to a Minor League Contract.
Duffy has had some success in the Majors to date. In his first full season as a Major Leaguer in 2015 with the Giants, Duffy slashed .295/.334/.428 with 12 HR and 77 RBI in 149 games. After a tough 2016 campaign, Duffy missed all of 2017 with an Achilles injury, and then returned with the Rays in 2018. In that season he played in 132 games and slashed .252/.343/.327 with four home runs and 59 RBI. Duffy was then DFA’d by the Rays after the 2019 season where he slashed .252/.343/.327 and recorded -0.3 WAR.
Duffy is not a player that will hit for any sort of power, but in the times of a Global Pandemic, he is a good addition to any team’s roster. He provides a reliable option in the infield, as he can play any position competently, and has proven to be at least somewhat of a serviceable bat. We have to assume at least a handful of players may contract Covid-19, and having a utility guy with experience at the ready may come in handy. Virus apart as well, the changed timing of everything could lead to more injuries.
The Yankees also signed Max McDowell, a 26-year old Catcher that has been in Brewers Minor League System since he was Drafted by them in 2015. He will likely serve as a back-up on the Taxi roster and provides some worst-case-scenario type of insurance.
Aside from the players on the roster and the lack of real surprises, we need to also start thinking about how the Yankees (or any other team) is going to have 60 players training at Yankee Stadium. If a player catches the virus, then it seems like it could spread around like wildfire to some degree. I think a possible scenario is a secondary site, as the Yankees have been in touch with personnel in Scranton as they try to figure out their best course of action. Most important is the player’s health, and the Yankees appear to be open to any sort of options for making sure Spring Training 2.0 runs smoothly.