The Yankees made the move to protect seven prospects and avoid December's Rule 5 Draft by adding them to their 40-man roster ahead of Wednesday's 8 p.m. ET deadline.
New York added OF Estevian Florial, RHP Deivi Garcia, RHP Luis Gil, RHP Brooks Kriske, RHP Luis Medina, RHP Nick Nelson and RHP Miguel Yajure to its MLB roster.
As corresponding moves, it released OF Jacoby Ellsbury while designating 1B Greg Bird and LHP Nestor Cortes for assignment.
The Rule 5 Draft maintains that players who were signed at age 19 or older and played professional baseball for four years are eligible for selection. Players to sign at age 18 and played professionally for five years -- both reaching age 23 -- also apply.
Teams typically protect prospects who are close to MLB-ready -- any team to take a player in the Rule 5 Draft must keep that person on its 25-man roster for the entirety of the following season of offer him back to his previous organization.
Among the players the Yankees kept, Garcia is the organization's No. 1 overall prospect. The RHP rose up through the Yankees' farm system, going from High-A Tampa to Double-A Trenton and nearly reaching the big leagues before ultimately finishing the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. In 26 minor-league games across the three levels, logging 111.1 innings, Garcia went 5-9 with a 4.28 ERA and 165 strikeouts to 54 walks.
Closer to the bottom of the list of the Yankees' top-30 prospects, Yajure turned heads as well on the 2019 campaign as he went from High-A Tampa to Double-A Trenton. Highlighted by his fastball reaching 97 mph, Yajure went 9-6 with a 2.14 ERA in 24 games (20 starts) with 133 strikeouts to 30 walks at each level.
Gil is the Yankees' second-ranked pitching prospect, going from Single-A Charleston to High-A Tampa and recording a 5-5 record with a 2.72 ERA in 20 starts while striking out 123 and walking 47.
Florial has long been the Yankees' top-ranked position player, before being unseated by 16-year-old sensation Jasson Dominguez. Florial spent the 2019 season with High-A Tampa, where he slashed .237/.297/.383 with eight home runs and 38 RBI in 74 games.