With free agency beginning in just about 24 hours, the Yankees have begun to protect some of their MiLB pieces. The team added OF Jake Cave and RHP Nick Rumbelow to their 40-man roster Monday.
These additions push the Yankees to have just two spaces left on their 40-man roster. Cave was scheduled to hit Minor League free agency, having completed his Minor League Uniform Player Contract. Those contracts last seven years, and Cave would have been able to test the free market.
Rumbelow had been on the 40-man roster previously. He appeared in 17 MLB games in 2015, going 1-1 with a 4.02 ERA out of the bullpen. He missed all of 2016 and part of 2017 after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Rumbelow was released at the end of 2016, but resigned with the Yankees a month later. At age 26, he would be eligible for the Rule 5 draft.
Cave slashed a combined .305/.351/.542 with 20 home runs and 56 RBIs in 103 total games. He struck out 26.3% and walked at 6.4% at both levels. Cave’s stats were powered by a fantastic month of July, where he raked to a .390/.439/.667 line with seven homers and 21 RBIs in 26 games. Cave fits in as a potential fourth outfielder for the MLB club, or as the first depth option at Triple-A.
Rumbelow had an impressive year in his comeback from Tommy John. In 25 total games, he logged a 1.12 ERA with a stellar 10.0 K/9 rate with Double-A and Triple-A. Of those 25 appearances, he finished 14 games (6 saves) and worked to a 5-1 W-L record. Rumbelow will have to impress during Spring Training to gain a spot in a crowded and talented Yankees bullpen.
These moves are just the first round of roster maneuvering for the Yankees, since they have a plethora of young prospects who need protection from the Rule 5 draft.