What Would Yanks Look Like Without Any Trades or Free Agent Signings

In the 1970’s, Baseball Digest was THE must read for baseball fans. If you subscribed, it came in the mail every month and there was nothing you looked forward to more than a new issue.

One year — I believe it was 1975 — they wrote an article of what each team in baseball would look like if you removed all trades and free agent signings.

They Yankees didn’t fare well.

How would the Yanks fare today?

One thing has changed since the 1970’s — International free agent signings have become important. The signing of players outside the jurisdiction of the June draft — typically from from Central America or Japan — shouldn’t be treated as a ‘regular’ free agent signing, since the player is acquired by a team before he plays for any other MLB organization.

With that in mind, here is what the Yanks would look like if you reversed all the trades and ‘regular’ free agent signings:

Starting Pitching

  1. Nestor Cortes
  2. Jordan Montgomery
  3. Michael King
  4. Clarke Schmidt
  5. Luis Severino — currently the Ace of the Mets with a 2-2 2.31 record.
  6. Hayden Wesneski — off to a good start with Cubs this year (2-0 0.54 in 16 IP, 2 starts). Thanks to Dennis Martelli (@VirginiaYank) for noting this in feedback to this article.
  7. Jhony Brito
  8. Deivi Garcia — with the White Sox.
  9. Ken Waldichuk — went 4-9 5.36 as a starter with Oakland last year, and is currently in minors.
  10. Luis Medina — went 3-10 5.42 as a starter with Oakland last year, and is currently in the minors.
  11. Randy Vasquez — in the minors for San Diego.

Top Propects would still include:


    • Luis Gil came up through the Yankee system but NY originally acquired him from Minnesota for Jake Cave.
    • Clayton Beeter — was originally on the Prospects list above, but Rich (see comments) points out that Beeter was acquired for Joey Gallo.
    • James Kaprielian did well in 2021 (8-5 4.07) and 2022 (5-9 4.23), but slashed 2-6 6.34 last year for Oakland and is currently unsigned by anyone and out of baseball.
    • JP Sears came up through Yank system but he was actually drafted by Seattle and later traded to the Yanks for Nick Rumbelow, who has been out of the majors since 2018.
    • Justus Sheffield is only 28 yrs old and just signed a minor league deal with Atlanta. He last pitched in the majors for Seattle in 2022, and was in the minors last year (2023).
    • Adam Warren is only 34 but has been out of baseball since 2021.
    • Phil Hughes is still only 38 but retired after the 2018 season, and is now a #1 Yankee fan on Twitter and hosts a show on Baseball Card Collecting on Youtube called Phil’s Pulls.
    • Joba Chamberlain is also still only 38, but hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2016.
    • Domingo German started his pro career with the Yankees but was acquired as a minor leaguer from Miami with Nathan Eovaldi in the David Phelps trade.

Relief Pitching

  • David Robertson — Now age 39, currently has a 1.08 ERA in 16 innings for Texas as their setup man.
  • Greg Weissert — doing well with the Boston Red Sox
  • Ron Marinaccio
  • Shane Greene — currently with Texas
  • Yoendrys Gómez — still a good prospect for Yanks, he had a brief appearance for them at end of 2023 and is currently on 40-man roster and in AAA at Scranton.


    • An ode to Dellin Betances here, who is now 36 yrs old and hasn’t pitched in the Majors since 2021 with the Mets.
    • Manny Banuelos is out of baseball since the end of 2022, having last pitched for the Pirates.
    • Andrew Brackman, the last of the Killer B’s, last pitched for the White Sox in 2013.
    • David Phelps last pitched in 2022 at age 35.
    • Jonathan Holder is 31, but was released this March by the Texas Rangers.
    • Albert Abreu is pitching in Japan, but although he started his major league career with NY, he was originally drafted by Houston and acquired via trade.



    • Austin Romine is now 35 yrs old, but has been out of baseball since the early in 2022, when he was released by the Reds.

1st Base

  • Mike Ford — slashed 16-34-.228 (.323 OBP) last year for Seattle in 219 at bats, and is currently in the Reds organization. He’s age 31.


    • Greg Bird has been out of baseball since the Yankees released him after giving him a 2nd try in 2022.

2nd Base

  • Thairo Estrada — the starting 2nd baseman for the SF Giants, he slashed 14-49-.271 (.315 OBP) last year and had a similar year in 2022.
  • Tyler Wade — currently batting .258 with San Diego as a backup infielder after performing similarly well (.255 average) for Oakland last year.


    • Gleyber Torres has never played for another team other than the Yankees on the MLB level. But he was acquired as a minor leaguer from the Cubs.

3rd Base

  • Ezequiel Duran — slashed 14-46-.276 (.324 OBP) with Texas last year as a multi-position infielder. Thanks to Dennis Martelli (@VirginiaYank) for noting this in feedback to this article. Duran went to Texas as part of the Joey Gallo trade.
  • Oswaldo Cabrera
  • Miguel Andujar — Miggy signed a 1-year contract with Oakland this winter after doing pretty well with the Pirates as a reserve last year. He’s been used as a left fielder the last 2 years.


    • Gio Urshela seems to have come up with Yanks but was actually drafted by Cleveland, then went to Toronto before NY acquired him. Thanks to Dennis Martelli (@VirginiaYank) for noting this in feedback to this article.



Right Field


  • Estevan Florial — currently with the Cleveland Indians as an outfield reserve; he hit a HR in a game to beat the Yanks earlier this year.

Left Field

  • Rob Refsnyder — currently batting .343 in 34 at bats off the bench for the Red Sox, after hitting .248 last year and .307 in 2022, with OBP’s in the .360’s.
  • Everson Pereira – Yanks might have to pull him back up from AAA.

An ode here to:

    • Mason Williams, who ended his career with the Mets in 2021 after playing 7 seasons in the big leagues.
    • Dustin Fowler, who last played for the Pirates in 2021.


  • Gary Sanchez — listed as a catcher above but he’d have to DH here.


The lineup might look something like this:

  1. Anthony Volpe
  2. Rob Refsnyder
  3. Aaron Judge
  4. Mike Ford
  5. Austin Wells
  6. Thairo Estrada
  7. Ezequiel Duran or Oswaldo Cabrera
  8. Gary Sanchez
  9. Estevan Florial


Based on the above, the Yankees would clearly be rushing Spencer Jones up, and waiting for “The Martan” Jasson Dominguez, when he recovers from injury in August.

You can see the Yankee draft philosophy over the last 10 years — go after pitchers, catchers, and shortstops.

The Yankees have been lauded by MLB scouting for doing a “good job drafting pitchers in the middle rounds” of the June draft.

They would have to trade some of those starting pitchers above for position players! And they have (example, the trade of Michael King, Brito, Vasquez, and Drew Thorpe for Juan Soto).


  1. Clayton Beeter was acquired from the Dodgers for Joey Gallo. Clearly a steal, but shouldn’t qualify for this list

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