Monday, March 31, 2014

New York Yankees: Preston Claiborne, DFA candidate

The New York Yankees are one day away from the start of their 2014 regular season. As the team readies itself for action against the Houston Astros, team management has to deal with one 40-man roster spot.

When the Yankees decided to add non-roster invitee Yangervis Solarte to the 25-man roster instead of Eduardo Nunez it created the necessity to remove a player from the current 40-man roster.

The easiest thing to do is designate a player for assignment (DFA) if the team cannot trade one of its players currently on the 40-man roster. Who would the Yankees choose to DFA if they cannot find a trade partner?

Nunez could be an option. The Yankees have obviously had their fill of Nunez’s inconsistencies. He possesses a mediocre bat and is a below average fielder. He does however provide some depth and experience. The Yankees will likely want to hang onto Nunez until they are fully comfortable with Solarte and Dean Anna in their utility roles, or in case of injury to one of the infield starters.

My best guess is that Preston Claiborne gets the boot if the Yankees go the DFA route. Claiborne had a promising start to the 2013 season, but it was washed away by a poor August (5.23 ERA) and a horrendous September (16.20 ERA). He was a complete non-factor down the stretch last year.

Despite that, Claiborne entered spring training with a solid shot of being a member of the bullpen due to a wide-open field of candidates. He failed to impress, in fact he simply imploded. Claiborne was knocked around to the tune of a 14.29 ERA. He allowed 14 hits in just 5.2 innings.

Claiborne’s performance is one thing, but more importantly the Yankees learned they have several relievers who profile as better options. Looking up and down the list there isn’t another player who deserves to be removed from the roster in my opinion. Further, I believe Claiborne has a better chance of passing through waivers than Nunez. So, if the Yankees want to take their chances they could DFA Claiborne, place him on waivers and hope he isn’t claimed. Then they could re-sign him if they’d like or he becomes a free agent.

There is not a single circumstance where I can see the Yankees regretting a decision to DFA Claiborne, but Nunez, albeit not the greatest weapon is more useful to keep around.

Photo courtesy of Keith Allison via Flickr.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance sports writer/editor and the Director of Content Strategy for Sportsideo.