Yankees' Tyler Wade, Michael King Make Opening Day Roster

Publish date:

TAMPA — As the Yankees wrap up spring training on Monday, New York's Opening Day roster is beginning to take shape. 

Addressing the media during Monday's Grapefruit League finale, before the team heads north, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman revealed that both utility man Tyler Wade and right-hander Michael King made the 26-man roster.

"I think that puts us at 25 and we have a 26th final decision that will be made here at some point, but probably not officially today," Cashman said in a Zoom call. 

Yankees manager Aaron Boone previously walked through the decision to have outfielder Mike Tauchman and veteran Jay Bruce make the team as well, in wake of first baseman Luke Voit's left knee surgery.

When Luke Voit Is Expected to Return From Left Knee Surgery

With all the bench spots sorted, the only remaining decision for Cashman, Boone and the Yankees is who will replace left-hander Justin Wilson in the bullpen. The southpaw is expected to start the season on the injured list with shoulder tighthness, Cashman said.

Wade may not be the best hitter, but his value comes on defense and on the base paths. The 26-year-old can play virtually every position, including shortstop, and often is used a pinch runner late in games. 

"What Tyler brings to the table is, especially in a bench role, he gives you a lot of defensive versatility," Boone said on Sunday. "When talking about second base, it's elite, it's really special range, the ability to play short, but I like him in the outfield, I feel like in any situation I can throw him in the outfield and he's gonna be really solid out there especially with the speed. Obviously the speed on the bases, but also coupled with him being a real instinctual, really good base runner."

As much as Wade has struggled at the plate in the past—he's a career .190 hitter over four regular seasons with the Yankees—he's starting to swing a hot bat at the right time. The left-handed hitter has had two hits in three of his last five games entering play on Monday.

Meanwhile, King will provide length out of the bullpen for New York, a right-hander capable of filling in as a starter or eating up multiple innings in one outing. He's pitched in only 10 big-league games so far, posting a 7.22 ERA, but has shown flashes of effectiveness this spring.

Earlier in March, the right-hander spoke about his goals for the season, striving to pitch 100 innings with the big-league club and contribute in multiple ways. He'll get that chance early on.

"Anything that I can do to impact us to get us to October, help our guys stay healthy and also be able to have some confidence from the staff to say 'King, you've got the ball in this game' and be able to perform," King said.


Follow Max Goodman on Twitter (@MaxTGoodman), on Facebook (also @MaxTGoodman), be sure to bookmark Inside The Pinstripes and check back daily for news, analysis and more.