New York Yankees: Projected 26-man roster post-Gerrit Cole signing

With Gerrit Cole joining the New York Yankees, the Bombers 2020 roster received a massive boost. How might the final product look?

The New York Yankees made a massive splash this week when they signed three-time all-star starting pitching Gerrit Cole to a nine-year $324 million deal.

With Cole in the fold, the Yankees 2020 roster projects to be one of the most complete in all of baseball heading into the new season.

How may the Yankees roster look come opening day in Baltimore? Here’s a prediction including the Cole signing, other projected moves, and the current players on the roster.

Starting Pitchers (5):

  1. Gerrit Cole
  2. Luis Severino
  3. Masahiro Tanaka
  4. James Paxton
  5. Jordan Montgomery

Remember when the Yankees starting rotation was always the biggest weakness in these projections? Not in 2020.
With the signing of a legitimate ace in Gerrit Cole, the Yankees now have one of the most formidable rotations in baseball on paper.

Injuries permitting the first four spots in the Yankees rotation are locked up with top of the rotation caliber arms. Cole will likely start opening day, then Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton will all be in the rotation.

The lone question mark is who will be the fifth starter? It’ll likely be Jordan Montgomery as the Yankees are looking to trade J.A. Happ to clear payroll and Domingo German is likely to be suspended for domestic violence allegations that popped up last September. The only other option would likely be Devi Garcia, but Garcia finished the season after just a few months of Triple-A ball under his belt, meaning he’ll probably need more time in Scranton before being called up to the Bronx.

Thus, look for Montgomery set for his first full season since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2018 to fill out the Bombers rotation.

Relief Pitchers (8)

Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton, Tommy Kanhle, Adam Ottavino, Chad Green, Steve Cishek* (projected signing), Jonathan Holder & Luis Cessa

Like nearly every season, the Yankees bullpen is again on paper to have a dominant 2020 season.

Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton, Tommy Kanhle, Adam Ottavino and Chad Green are all locks to win a spot in the pen come spring training meaning the question will be the final three spots.

Since Dellin Betances is likely to leave look for both Jonathan Holder and Luis Cessa to make the opening day roster as internal options however don’t be surprised if the Yankees take a flyer on submarine right-hander Steve Cishek.

Cishek pitched to a stellar 2.95 ERA with the Cubs a season ago and could be a perfect mid-relief option to take Betances’s spot in the pen.

Catchers (2)

  1. Gary Sanchez
  2. Martin Maldonado* 

There’s no doubt that Gary Sanchez will be the Yankees starting catcher in 2020, but the question is who will be his back-up.

Austin Romine is heading to Detroit, so he will not be the answer in 2020. However, the Yankees have reportedly shown interest in former Astro Martin Maldonado.

Maldonado was Cole’s personal catcher in Houston for parts of the last two seasons and hit 12 home runs in 2019 in a season split between the Angels and Astros.

He appears to be a perfect fit for the Yankees as they get Cole comfortable in Pinstripes.

Infielders (7)

1B:  Luke Voit & Mike Ford

2B: DJ LeMahieu

SS: Gleyber Torres

3B: Gio Urshela & Miguel Andujar

Potential 26th man: Tyler Wade

With Didi Gregorius Philadelphia bound, the Yankees infield picture is a lot more clearer heading into 2020.

The starting infield will likely consist of Luke Voit, DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres and Gio Urshela.

Then, as long as he’s not traded, Miguel Andujar will likely be the designated hitter and play third base some games.

It also would not be a surprise to see Mike Ford make the roster and get starts against right-handed pitching. In 143 at-bats last season Ford hit .259 with 12 home runs and 25 RBI’s. Thus, he’d be a perfect left-handed bench bat for the Bombers.

Outfielders (4)

LF: Giancarlo Stanton

CF: Brett Gardner

RF: Aaron Judge

Bench: Mike Tauchman

Perhaps the clearest picture of the New York Yankees 2020 roster is the outfield. With Aaron Hicks out for most of the season, the re-signed Brett Gardner will likely start in center.

With Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge in the corners, the only real question is who will be the Yankees fourth outfielder. Expect Mike Tauchman to win the job. Tauchman was phenomenal in 2019 for the Yankees before suffering a season-ending injury.

Tauchman hit .277 with 13 home runs and 47 RBI’s in 241 at-bats last season and also added outstanding defense. This will likely win him the job over Clint Fraizer, who has struggled mightily defensively during his time in the big leagues.

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