More starting pitching depth has arrived for the Yankees, as Jon Heyman of MLB Network has reported they have signed pitcher Nick Tropeano to a minor-league contract with an invitation to Spring Training.
Tropeano grew up in West Islip, New York, and played college baseball for Stony Brook before the Houston Astros took him in the fifth round of the 2011 Draft. He was traded to the Angels in 2014, and debuted as a September call-up that year.
Over the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Tropeano hit the peak of his career to this point. In 21 games (106 innings), he recorded a 3.65 ERA (4.32 FIP) and nine strikeouts per nine innings. The 2016 season ended with the dreaded reconstructive elbow surgery, which forced him to miss the entirety of the 2017 season.
Things haven’t quite been the same for the 29-year-old since his return from the injury, making 17 appearances (89⅔ innings) to a 5.52 ERA (6.08 FIP) with just 7.4 strikeouts per nine. The Angels outrighted Tropeano to the minors after the 2019 season, but he elected free agency instead.
Tropeano figures to slot into the Triple-A rotation to eat some innings. The Yankees currently do not have any veteran arms signed for the 2020 season, assuming J.A. Happ is traded and Jordan Montgomery begins the season as the fifth starter for the big-league club. There’s also the very real possibility that the Yankees carry Happ into the 2020 season, which would give the Yanks two arms with significant big-league experience in the minors in Montgomery and Tropeano.