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10 players who could be cut at the 28-man roster deadline

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For any fans who may have missed it, there is an MLB 28-man roster deadline on May 1. Since spring training was shortened, the league temporarily altered the MLB roster size for the start of the season, allowing teams to carry 28 players through May 1.

But come Monday morning, rosters have to go back to 26 players with no more than 14 pitchers staying on the roster until late May. With the MLB option rules also being altered a little in the new CBA, there could be some notable players cut on Monday when rosters have to be trimmed.

MLB 28 man roster deadline

Essentially, players who would have ordinarily been fighting to keep their job during spring training got an extra month to prove themselves. But if those players haven’t had a strong April, MLB’s 28-man roster deadline could be what costs them their job.

While not all of these players are likely to be cut, let’s look at 10 players who are candidates to be let go when rosters shrink on Monday.

Robinson Cano, Mets

The Mets surely have a difficult decision to make with Robinson Cano. He’s making a ton of money and is also under contract for next season. But the Mets also have a loaded roster with Cano clearly being outperformed by New York’s other options at second base and the DH spot.


It would surely be unfair for the Mets to cut ties with or demote a player like J.D. Davis or Dominic Smith in favor of Cano. Trading the 39-year-old who still offers something seems out of the question. That means the Mets will have to seriously consider cutting Cano at the roster deadline because he just hasn’t produced enough this season.

Mike Zunino, Rays

The Rays surely don’t want to part ways with Mike Zunino. But they do have a younger catcher in Francisco Mejia who was off to a great start with the bat before going on the COVID IL.

Meanwhile, Zunino isn’t under contract beyond this year and is off to a dreadful start offensively, batting under .100. If Tampa doesn’t want to carry three catchers and trusts Rene Pinto to be the backup to Mejia for the rest of the season, Zunino’s job could be in jeopardy.

Josh Harrison, White Sox 

The good news for Josh Harrison is the White Sox would have to buy him out of next season if they cut him now. That might be enough to save his job. However, Harrison is another player who’s slumped out of the gate and is hitting under .100 for the struggling White Sox.

At age 34, there might not be a lot of reasons to be optimistic that Harrison can turn things around, so the White Sox could cut him and look for another option at second base.


Lorenzo Cain, Brewers 

This looks like it could be the end for the 36-year-old Lorenzo Cain. He’s no longer producing and he’s in the final year of his five-year contract. Milwaukee has to pay him for the rest of the season whether he plays or not.

At this point, the Brewers might be better off without Cain, especially if he’s taking up a roster spot that could be used otherwise.

Adalberto Mondesi, Royals

The Royals have to be reaching the end of the line with Adalberto Mondesi, who is no longer a young prospect with a promising future. He’s 26 and his offensive numbers in April are even worse than his underwhelming career numbers.

Granted, his defense still provides value for Kansas City. But his offensive struggles could mean the Royals don’t see him as a part of their future, meaning he could be dropped when rosters shrink.

Miguel Sano, Twins

Despite hitting 30 homers last year, Miguel Sano is off to a slow start in 2022. He’s had enough ups and downs in his career that there’s no guarantee he’ll come out of his April slump.

Minnesota has enough depth and versatility to manage at first base and the DH spot without Sano, so there’s an argument to be made that he doesn’t deserve to still be on the 26-man roster. 

Carson Kelly, Diamondbacks 

Carson Kelly having one more year of arbitration could help inspire the rebuilding Diamondbacks to keep him around rather than jump the gun after his sluggish offensive start.

Plus, Kelly isn’t the only Arizona hitter who’s off to a poor start this year. However, the D’Backs could be changing their mind about Kelly being a building block for the future, which could put him on the chopping block when the rosters shrink.

Tommy Pham, Reds

Tommy Pham and the Reds have a mutual option for next season, so the team may not be in a rush to get rid of him. But he’s 34 and hitting below .200 after two subpar seasons in San Diego in the last two years.

The struggling Reds may not want to stick with him, especially since it’ll allow them to keep some of their younger outfielders in the majors to get valuable experience in what already looks like a lost year.

Nick Pivetta, Red Sox 

Nick Pivetta has undoubtedly pitched his way onto the chopping block despite being under team control for one more year. After four starts, he’s rocking an 8.27 ERA with the Red Sox losing all four of his starts.

Granted, Boston may not have any better options who are healthy right now, but Pivetta’s spot on the roster has to be in question after his performance thus far.

Darin Ruf, Giants 

Since Darin Ruf is under contract for next season, the Giants would prefer not to cut ties with the veteran when the MLB roster size drops to 26. But despite an impressive campaign in 2021, the 35-year-old has struggled this season. He’s at the age where it’s fair to question whether he’s over the hill.

With LaMonte Wade coming back soon from injury and Wilmer Flores producing, the Giants may not need Ruf at first base or DH enough to justify a roster spot after Monday.

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