The New York Yankees do not have a pick in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft next month, having forfeited it to the Tampa Bay Rays for the free-agent signing of Rafael Soriano. I guess that is another reason why the Yankees right now look like they made a mistake giving the sore-elbowed reliever a three-year, $35-million dollar contract.
The Yankees don't pick until 51st overall, when the have a first-round 'sandwich' selection, which is compensation for the Florida Marlins' free-agent signing of Javier Vazquez during the offseason. In two tours of duty with the Yankees being signed by someone else could turn out to be the best thing Vazquez ever did for New York -- if the Yankees can find a useful player with the pick.
In 2006 the Yankees had great luck with a 'sandwich' pick, snagging Joba Chamberlain with the 41st selection that season.
In 2001 the Yankees selected outfielder Bronson Sardinha with a sandwich pick, 34th overall. Sardinha played 10 big-league games for the Yankees in 2007. In 2004 the Yankees had sandwich picks at 37 and 41, but outfielder Jon Poterson and pitcher Jeff Marquez made his big-league debut last season with the Chicago White Sox, pitching one inning. In 2008 the Yankees used a sandwich selection on left-handed starter Jeremy Bleich, who is currently out after undergoing shoulder surgery. He has not advanced above AA.
The Yankees did get a supplemental pick 29th in the 2009 first round for their failure to sign pitcher Gerrit Cole in 2008. They used it on outfielder Slade Heathcott, a highly-regarded outfielder playing at the Class A level.
It remains to be seen who the Yankees take with that 51st selection this time, and what they get out of the player. As compensation for Vazquez, though, getting anything has to be considered a bonus.