Remember when the Yankees signed Darren O’Day? Well, they still haven’t.
Only one problem — they still haven’t announced O’Day’s deal, stuck instead with a full 40-man.
At first, it was fair to speculate that Brian Cashman had “another deal” in the works, and was perhaps crafting a blockbuster to clear two or three 40-man roster spots. But then a week went by…and then another one…
At this point, it’s far safer to anticipate a cut than a momentum-shifting trade for a controllable asset. Would we prefer a Joey Gallo trade to add a thunderous bat to the outfield mix? Or an Amir Garrett deal to place another fearsome lefty in the middle innings? Sure!
But as Spring Training approaches, we hate to inform you that there’s a far greater likelihood of the 40th man on the Yankees’ 40-man roster simply losing his job at an inopportune time.
How will the Yankees add Darren O’Day to their 40-man roster?
Who’s that rostered player? We’d have to guess it’s reliever Ben Heller, who we’re surprised even earned the 40-man spot in the first place this offseason, surviving the initial roster purge ahead of the Rule 5 Draft.
Of all the Yankees’ wild cards, Heller has one of the nastier sliders and has a setup man ceiling, but availability has not been his strong suit the past few years, finding injury after injury to overcome.
Beyond Heller, speedy outfielder Greg Allen, added about a month ago, can’t feel too secure in his current position. His survival depends on whether or not the Yankees intend to reunite with Brett Gardner.
Brian Cashman can tell us all he wants that the team is still evaluating and Gardner’s return isn’t an inevitability; we’ll believe they’re willing to sever the ties when we actually see it, especially with the need for another lefty bat in the lineup mix.
For another agonizing day, mum’s the word on the way the Yankees will officially fit O’Day into their 2021 plans.
As far as we can tell, though, there is no multi-piece trade coming. There’s no more salary to take on. There’s simply a ticking clock, an assessment of Brett Gardner’s value, and then likely a two-man announcement that’ll ruin Heller and Allen’s day.