After doing the unexpected and re-signing Esmil Rogers to a 1-year deal earlier last night, the Yankees kept that trend going with a pair of unexpected non-tender decisions. As first reported by Joel Sherman, the team chose to non-tender Slade Heathcott and Jose Campos in addition to David Huff to open up a few more roster spots. They now have 36 players on the 40-man. While the decisions on Heathcott and Campos were unexpected, they're both more than understandable. Heathcott has been a walking injury problem since the day he signed, and this latest knee re-injury/surgery has him looking more destined to go down as a bust than an MLB contributor. Campos, who was Rule 5 protected last offseason, missed all of 2014 after having TJS and has had a ton of arm problems since being included in the infamous Pineda-Montero trade.
The good news is that the decision to non-tender those 2 does not mean they are automatically goners. Being non-tendered actually puts the Yankees on even ground with the rest of MLB to re-sign them to a new MiL deal, which wouldn't be the case if they were released and had to pass through waivers. There's a chance the Yanks could have that in mind with one or both of Heathcott and Campos. We've seen them do it before.
The better news is the possibility that these moves signal the Yankees' readiness and closeness to signing some free agents of value. They have a ton of needs and could want to get deals done quickly with more than one target. Having more open spots on the 40-man makes that easier to accomplish without having to make a corresponding move.
One last NT deadline note- all of the other pre-arb or arb-eligible players were tendered contracts. Now we can move on to seeing what guys like Pineda and Phelps get.