The first minor-league signing off the offseason has arrived, as the Yankees shore up their outfield depth inking speedy outfielder Zack Granite to a minor-league deal with an invitation to MLB Spring Training. The news was first reported by USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale.
The Yankees have not confirmed the agreement yet, but typically wait until closer to Spring Training to announce all of their non-roster players.
The 27-year-old last played in the majors in 2017, where he slashed .237/.321/.290 (68 wRC+) in 40 games for the Minnesota Twins. A mid-Spring Training trade in 2019 sent him to the Texas Rangers organization, where he hit a slightly stronger .290/.331/.375 (73 wRC+) and also put up a miniscule 8.3% strikeout rate for Triple-A Nashville.
Everybody loves to overanalyze the minor-league signings when they happen, but it would be irresponsible to view the Granite signing as anything more than the accumulation of depth. The Triple-A team needs a center-fielder, with Billy Burns once again hitting minor-league free agency.
It certainly has no bearing on a possible Brett Gardner reunion, which is viewed in many circles as a matter of “when” rather than “if”. Plus, the team has Mike Tauchman as a starting outfield contender coming into Spring Training.
With Jacoby Ellsbury gone and existing minor-league options too far off, signing a capable center fielder as depth makes all the sense in the world.