New York Yankees Look For Answers During The Lockout
As the stalemate between the Major League owners and the MLB Players Association continues, so does the pursuit of a coveted 40-man big league roster spot for over 3000 minor league baseball players. So, the New York Yankees Tampa facility is still buzzing this spring, except for about one third of their players. They also happen to represent the highest paid portion of the group. Nonetheless, there is some hard work being put in by players in pursuit of 'The Pinstripes.'
This lockout situation also gives the Yankees brass time to examine these potential players much more carefully than they can during a 'normal' camp. Maybe one of these rough rocks and be polished into a diamond. Each spring training comes with stories of players that came out of nowhere to land in the big leagues. Could one of those players be in Tampa right now? Absolutely and Brian Cashman with his personnel team know it.
Dan Martin examined some of the minor leaguers on nypost.com PLUS. For example, "Hayden Wesneski was drafted by the Yankees in 2019, had his first professional spring training cut short by the pandemic in 2020 and was forced to delay his spring training last season when the league split up reporting dates for major and minor leaguers in an effort to avoid overcrowding amid ongoing COVID concerns." Wesneski told Martin, “It’s nuts. I still haven’t had my first real spring training.”
However, it's not just minor leaguers fighting for one of those spots. There are plenty of ex-big leaguers fighting for one more shot. Matt Bowman is a 29-year-old right-handed reliever, who spent four seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds from 2016-2019. Bowman had Tommy John surgery in September 2020 and is working to get back on a Major League roster. He signed a two-year minor league deal with the Yankees.
Nypost.com asked, "if it was awkward to be training at the facility during a lockout after being a member of the MLBPA previously, Bowman said, “No, since I’m not technically part of the union. I hope to rejoin this year … If we were striking, maybe I’d look at it a little differently. A lockout feels different.” Could Bowman be that surprise roster piece that comes out of the 2022 Spring Training? Maybe, but we have to wait a little longer for the answer than in normal years.