New York’s players could use SWB’s facilities to stay ready.
There might be some New York Yankees prospects roaming PNC Field this summer after all.
After rumors started circulating about where New York might house its taxi squad for the now-officially shortened Major League Baseball season, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders president John Adams reached out to gauge the parent club’s interest in using the ballpark in Moosic as its base.
“That’s the rumor and there have been conversations with the Yankees about them coming here,” Adams told The Times-Tribune today. “There’s nothing finalized right now, and that’s kind of what we’re waiting on. Are they coming 100 percent? And what does that mean? We don’t have a lot of those questions outside of what you read in the news right now. I think the Yankees are, based on how things kind of evolved in these conversations at the top, are now reacting on their end internally and putting their plan together.”
With a 60-game season set to be played in a tight window — fewer days off — teams will need more players at their disposal. The normal 25-man roster will be bumped up to a 30-man for the first two weeks of the season before moving back to 28 and then 26 another two weeks after that. Teams can keep 60 players in the loop, however, meaning most will need to stay active at a separate site away from New York.
Earlier this month, Baseball America reported teams were being directed to house their taxi squads within a 100-mile radius of their home base. The Yankees have two affiliates within that range: short-season Class-A Staten Island (26 miles from the Bronx, but much longer with traffic) and Double-A Trenton (76 miles). By car, PNC Field to Yankee Stadium is about 130 miles, though the straight-line, point-A-to-point-B distance is closer to 100 miles on the nose.
The purpose of the 100-mile radius is simply to cut down on travel when teams need extra players, and the Yankees have shown regularly that they have no problem rushing players from Moosic to New York at a moment’s notice.
PNC Field offers some amenities other affiliates might not be able to match, too. The home clubhouse is expansive and the visitors clubhouse offers more quality space for players to spread out. There are two sets of indoor mounds, one on the home side and one on the visitors side, and the ability to have four batting cages.
In addition, players could be housed at one of the hotels on the mountain, with enough stores and restaurants nearby to keep them occupied without having to venture too far from the stadium.
“I think there’s a good chance of them coming here,” Adams said. “I think it would be phenomenal, but we haven’t gotten that confirmation yet.
“Obviously, we have a beautiful ballpark and lots of resources and amenities that it would make sense.”