Category: Transactions

Yankees Re-Sign Erik Kratz

The Yankees added to their catching depth Wednesday, inking veteran Erik Kratz to another minor league deal. There is no word if the deal carries an invite to MLB Spring Training.

Kratz originally came to the Yankees ahead of the postseason roster deadline of Aug. 31. He was added to the 40-man roster because of an injury to the other third-string backstop Kyle Higashioka. Kratz was perfect at the plate, hitting to a 1.000/1.000/1.500 slashline with two RBIs.

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The veteran was not on the postseason roster, though he traveled with the team during the ALDS and ALCS. The Yankees attempted to outright Kratz at the end of the season, but he declined the assignment and became a free agent. Kratz has previously played with the Pirates, Phillies, Blue Jays, Royals and the Astros prior to the Yankees.

Yankees Acquire Jabari Blash From Padres for Chase Headley, Bryan Mitchell

Chase Headley is headed back to San Diego as the Yankees traded the veteran corner infielder back to the Padres alongside RHP Bryan Mitchell for 28-year-old outfielder Jabari Blash.

Neither team has confirmed the trade. The deal was first reported by the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, and confirmed by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

The Padres will take on the full $13 million left on Headley’s deal, and likely did so after acquiring the high-upside arm of Mitchell. Mitchell is out of minor league options, and would have been exposed to waivers if he did not make the Yankees’ 25-man roster out of Spring Training.

Headley split time between third base and first base in 2017. He hit .273/.352/.406 with 12 home runs, 61 RBIs and stole 9 out of 11 bases. His hitting stats were torpedoed by his awful May, where he went just 14-for-85 (.165) with an OPS of .446. Headley spent the first eight years of his career in San Diego before being traded to the Yankees in 2014.

Mitchell simply ran out of time to prove himself in the Bronx. He has a live arm and a great curveball, but sometimes could control neither of them. In four years up-and-down with the Yankees, Mitchell has a 2-6 record and a 4.94 ERA. His command still needs work as his BB/9 is 4.0 and H/9 is at 10.5. In the pitchers’ park that is Petco Park, Mitchell may have a chance to thrive.

Blash is the return for dumping Headley’s salary on the Padres. He has big power upside, but also swings and misses a ton. In 99 MLB games across two seasons, Blash has slashed (lol) .200/.323/.336 with eight home runs and 21 RBIs. He has struck out at a 35.8% rate in the big leagues. He may be a quick 40-man roster casualty since the Yankees already have a plethora of outfielders.

The Yankees cleared out a 40-man roster spot with this trade, and opened up third base to a competition from within OR to a free agent signing. There are still more moves to be made, so stay tuned.

Yankees to Acquire Giancarlo Stanton From Marlins

The reigning 2017 National League Most Valuable Player will almost certainly be suiting up in the Bronx in 2018. The New York Yankees have acquired OF Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins in exchange for 2B Starlin Castro, RHP Jorge Guzman and IF José Devers. The deal is currently pending since all players involved must pass physicals.

Neither club has confirmed the deal. The Yankees will take on $265 million of the remaining $295 million on Stanton’s contract. He can use a player option to opt out of his deal after the 2020 season.

The team plans to rotate Stanton with Aaron Judge and Brett Gardner in between the two corner outfield positions and designated hitter role. Stanton hit 59 home runs in 2017 en route to being named NL MVP and Hank Aaron Award winner. His slashline was .281/.376/.631, and also tallied an MLB-leading 132 RBIs.

The Yankees bought low on Castro, trading RHP Adam Warren and UTIL Brendan Ryan to the Chicago Cubs to acquire the young infielder. In his Yankees tenure, Castro hit .283/.317/.442 with 37 home runs and 133 RBIs. He was limited to just 112 games in 2017 because of a recurring hamstring issue. The Yankees will have Ronald Torreyes, Tyler Wade, Gleyber Torres and Thairo Estrada in camp to compete for the starting job at second base.

Guzman was the Yankees No. 9 prospect, pitching to a 2.30 ERA and 11.9 K/9 for Short Season-A Staten Island. Guzman came to the Yankees alongside Albert Abreu in the trade that sent Brian McCann to the Houston Astros. Devers got his first taste of minor league action at age-17 this year with the Dominican Summer League Yankees and Gulf Coast League Yankees East club. He hit .245/.336/.342 with one home run and 16 RBIs combined in Rookie ball. He is the cousin of Red Sox 3B Rafael Devers.

Though they were not actively pursuing Stanton at first, the Yankees were one of four teams that he would waive his no-trade clause to join. The other teams were the Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers. Stanton vetoed trades to the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals earlier this week. It appeared that general manager Brian Cashman had the opportunity to acquire Stanton for cheap, and took advantage.

Recent reports indicate that the Marlins are already taking calls on Starlin Castro, and will look to flip him to another contending team. The New York Mets have reportedly shown interest in Castro already. The 27-year-old is owed $22.71 million guaranteed through 2019, with a $16 million team option ($1 million buyout) for 2020.

Yankees Add Six Players to 40-Man Roster

All of the Yankees’ wheeling and dealing in the last few days came with a purpose. The team added six players to their 40-man roster Monday to protect them from the Rule 5 draft.

The team protected RHP Albert Abreu (No. 7), RHP Domingo Acevedo (No. 6), INF Thairo Estrada (No. 17), RHP Jonathan Loáisiga, OF/1B Billy McKinney (No. 23) and INF Gleyber Torres (No. 1). I expected everyone with the exception of Loáisiga to be protected, since Loáisiga has no experience above Low-A ball.

The Yankees acquired Abreu in the trade that sent Brian McCann to the Houston Astros. He pitched well in 2017, putting up a 2-3 record and 3.38 ERA across three minor league levels with the Yankees. He displayed strikeout stuff (10.3 K/9) but had command issues (3.0 BB/9) that will have to be ironed out in the lower minor leagues. Abreu impressed in the Arizona Fall League, finishing with a 2.60 ERA and 23 strikeouts in six AFL starts.

Acevedo signed with the Yankees March 3, 2013, as an international amateur free agent. The 6’7″ right-hander started 23 games across three different MiLB levels, topping out at Triple-A. His lanky frame has allowed him to reach up to 103 mph with his fastball. He finished 2017 with a 3.25 ERA and 9.6 K/9 rate. He has the potential to be a starter if he can manage his mechanics, but also could end up as a potent back-end reliever.

Estrada is another player who put himself on the radar with a strong Arizona Fall League performance. He was second on the Scottsdale Scorpions in average, hitting .342/.381/.430 with a homer and 10 RBIs. A versatile middle infielder, Estrada batted .301/.353/.392 with six homers and 48 RBIs exclusively with Double-A Trenton.

Loáisiga serves as the wild card. The Yankees were bound to protect another pitcher, and they chose the 23-year-old from Nicaragua. In 11 starts with the Yankees organization in 2017, Loáisiga was filthy. He went just 1-1, but had a stunning 1.83 ERA and 9.1 K/9 compared to 0.8 BB/9. To protect a guy who has not pitched above Short Season-A is rare, but Loáisiga showed he deserved it.

McKinney was the 24th overall pick in the 2013 Amateur Draft, selected by the Oakland Athletics. He was traded in 2014 with Addison Russell and Dan Straily to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. McKinney found himself in the package with Gleyber Torres, Adam Warren and Rashad Crawford that went to the Yankees in exchange for Aroldis Chapman in 2016. Once he hit Triple-A in 2017, McKinney turned heads, batting .306/.336/.541 with 10 homers and 35 RBIs in 55 games. The Yankees sent him to the Arizona Fall League (which foreshadowed his protection), where he finished second with 20 RBIs. He also played first base in the AFL, aiming to increase his versatility.

As mentioned above, Torres came to the Yankees in the Chapman deal during the 2016 “rebuild”. The consensus No. 1 prospect in MLB, Torres’ 2017 season was cut short after he tore his left UCL sliding into home plate in a Triple-A game. He missed the rest of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He was on a rotation of playing third base, shortstop and second base in order to find a position for him in the major league lineup. He was hitting .309/.406/.457 in 23 Triple-A Games prior to his injury. The Yankees are not allowing him to play winter ball, but Brian Cashman implied that Torres will be able to compete for a job during Spring Training.

The Yankees obviously had very tough decisions to make regarding who to protect. They made many trades, and had to leave a lot of talent unprotected. If a team selects an eligible player from the Yankees who is not on the 40-man roster, they pay the Yankees a fee and must keep that player on their active roster for the entirety of the season. If they are unable to keep that player on the active roster, they must return him to the Yankees and they will get a refund. If another team keeps that player on the active roster for the entire season (like the San Diego Padres did with C Luis Torrens in 2016), they gain ownership of the players rights, and can send them to the minor leagues.

Yankees Trade Garrett Cooper & Caleb Smith to Marlins for Michael King & Bonus Money

The Yankees 40-man roster count is down to 34. The Yankees traded 1B Garrett Cooper and LHP Caleb Smith to the Miami Marlins for RHP Michael King and 2017-18 international signing bonus pool money.

Cooper was acquired by the Yankees midseason from the Milwaukee Brwers to solidify their revolving door at first base. They traded LHP Tyler Webb to the Brew Crew July 13. Cooper went on to slash .326/.333/.488 with six RBIs in 13 games with the Yankees. He spent time on the 10-day disabled list with left hamstring tendinitis, and was activated Oct. 2. He was promptly reassigned to the Minors because he was not on the postseason roster. In the notoriously hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, Cooper hit .366/.428/.652 with 17 home runs and 82 RBIs through 75 games.

Smith was drafted by the Yankees in the 14th round of the 2013 Amateur Draft. He made his MLB debut this season, working as a starter-longman hybrid. In 9 games (2 starts), he pitched to an inflated 7.71 ERA and ugly 4.8 BB/9. His HR/9 (1.9) also left plenty to be desired. But, the 26-year-old proved he deserved a shot with his performance for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. In 18 games (17 starts), he was 9-1 with a 2.39 ERA. He will likely compete for the same role he had with the Yankees in Miami.

King was a 12th round pick of the Marlins in the 2016 Amateur Draft. Through 41 minor league appearances (26 starts), he has a 3.31 ERA and 6.3 K/9. He worked exclusively as a starter in 2017 (made just one relief appearance), and posted a respectable 3.14 ERA for the Greensboro Grasshoppers of the South Atlantic League. King was not ranked as a Top 30 Prospect for the Marlins by

What is also significant is that the Yankees acquired international signing bonus pool money from the Marlins. This money pushes the Yankees closer to the Texas Rangers as the team with the most international signing bonus pool money. The Rangers have $3.535 million, while the Yankees have $3.5 million with this deal. With the possibility of Shohei Ohtani coming to MLB this offseason, the Yankees are looking to gain a financial edge on the other clubs pursuing the two-way star.

Yankees Acquire Reiver Sanmartin From Rangers for Ronald Herrera

With tonight’s 8 p.m. Eastern Time deadline for teams to set their 40-man rosters for the Rule 5 draft fast approaching, the Yankees swung another trade to open a spot. They sent RHP Ronald Herrera to the Texas Rangers in exchange for LHP Reiver Sanmartin.

Herrera made his big-league debut during the 2017 Road Trip From Hell™️, throwing three total innings to a 6.00 ERA. The 22-year-old made the jump from Double-A directly to the Yankees since most of the Scranton Shuttle pitchers were hurt or had not been down for 10 days. Across three MiLB levels in 2017, Herrera made 14 starts. He pitched to a 1.91 ERA with a 6.8 K/9. He was limited to just 75⅓ innings due to injuries.

Reiver Sanmartin is a lefty who pitched in 14 games (11 starts) between Short Season-A and Low-A in the Rangers system. In his age-21 season, he went 7-2 with a 2.45 ERA and 7.6 K/9 rate. Sanmartin profiles as a reliever, and will likely start the season with the Low-A Charleston RiverDogs. He will not be Rule 5 eligible until December 2018.

The Yankees’ 40-man roster now sits at 36 with less than four hours until the deadline. Eligible players that are not on the 40-man roster can be selected by other teams in the Rule 5 draft. If selected, the team would pay the Yankees a sum per player and would be required to keep them on the active roster all season. If they cannot keep the player on the active roster, the team would be required to return the player to the Yankees.

Yankees Acquire JP Sears & Juan Then From Mariners for Nick Rumbelow

UPDATE (Nov. 20 at 4:45 p.m. ET): Juan Then has made the Yankees’ list of Top 30 Prospects. He is currently listed as the team’s No. 28 prospect.

The Yankees cleared a 40-man roster spot Saturday as they traded RHP Nick Rumbelow to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for LHP JP Sears and RHP Juan Then.

Rumbelow had been added to the 40-man roster Nov. 6 along with OF Jake Cave in order to prevent them from becoming minor league free agents. The 26-year-old made 17 appearances for the Yankees in 2015, with a 4.02 ERA and a promising 8.6 K/9 rate. But, he missed the 2016 season because of Tommy John surgery, and was eventually released. He re-signed to a minor league deal with the Yankees in 2017, pitching to a 1.12 ERA and 10.0 K/9 in 25 games combined between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

LHP JP Sears was the Mariners No. 21 prospect prior to the trade. He was an 11th round pick by Seattle in this year’s Amateur Draft. He made 17 appearances between Low-A and High-A, pitching to a stingy 0.65 ERA and 16.6 K/9 rate. Sears was a junior at Citadel when drafted, finishing his season with a 2.64 ERA across 95⅓ innings. At age-21, he will not be Rule 5 eligible until December 2020.

RHP Juan Then is a 17-year-old who made 17 starts in 2017 for the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League Mariners. The Mariners signed him July 2, 2016, as an international amateur player. In the DSL, he had a 2-2 record, a 2.64 ERA and a 8.2 K/9 rate. The Yankees have a history of acquiring young arms with good stuff, and Then seems to fit that trend.

The Yankees and Mariners have hooked up on trades recently with interesting benefits on each side. Last season, the Yankees sent OF Ben Gamel to the Mariners in exchange for RHPs Jio Orozco and Juan De Paula. Gamel went on to breakthrough with a .275/.322/.413 line with Seattle in 134 games. Orozco went 8-6 with a 3.50 ERA in 25 games (24 starts) across three MiLB levels. De Paula went 5-5 with a 2.90 ERA in 12 games (11 starts) with the Short Season-A Staten Island Yankees.

During the 2016 offseason, the Yankees traded LHP James Pazos to the Mariners for RHP Zack Littell. Littell pitched to a 1.91 ERA in two MiLB levels with the Yankees before they shipped him to the Minnesota Twins with LHP Dietrich Enns for LHP Jaime García. Pazos appeared in 59 games, with a 3.86 ERA, 10.9 K/9 rate and 4.0 BB/9 rate.

Note: This article originally stated that Gamel was traded for Littell. This has been corrected as of 6 p.m. ET November 20, 2017.

Former Yankee Prospects Bañuelos, Williams Sign MiLB Deals

Two players thought to be the future of the Yankees have signed minor league deals with other teams. LHP Manny Bañuelos and OF Mason Williams have moved onto the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds, respectively.

Bañuelos, traded by the Yankees to Atlanta for David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve in 2015, signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers. There is no word on whether the deal carries an invite to MLB Spring Training, but I would assume it would. Bañuelos never cracked the Big Leagues with the Yankees, appearing from 2008 to 2014 in the Yankee system. Bañuelos has a 1-4 record and a 5.13 ERA in seven MLB games. He has battled elbow problems, but made 39 appearances in 2017 with the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees of the Los Angeles Angels.

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Williams signed a minor league deal with an MLB spring training invite with the Reds.  He was a top prospect who was a victim of the 2010s Yankees and their affinity for veteran players. Baseball America ranked Williams the team’s No. 1 prospect in 2012, but he did not make his MLB debut until 2015. He played just 25 total games across three seasons with the Yankees, with a respectable .281/.313/.391 slashline and strong defense at all three outfield positions. The Yankees designated Williams for assignment June 29, and he was outrighted to Triple-A after clearing waivers July 6.

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Jake Cave, Nick Rumbelow Added to the 40-Man Roster

With free agency beginning in just about 24 hours, the Yankees have begun to protect some of their MiLB pieces. The team added OF Jake Cave and RHP Nick Rumbelow to their 40-man roster Monday.

These additions push the Yankees to have just two spaces left on their 40-man roster. Cave was scheduled to hit Minor League free agency, having completed his Minor League Uniform Player Contract. Those contracts last seven years, and Cave would have been able to test the free market.

Rumbelow had been on the 40-man roster previously. He appeared in 17 MLB games in 2015, going 1-1 with a 4.02 ERA out of the bullpen. He missed all of 2016 and part of 2017 after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Rumbelow was released at the end of 2016, but resigned with the Yankees a month later. At age 26, he would be eligible for the Rule 5 draft.

Cave slashed a combined .305/.351/.542 with 20 home runs and 56 RBIs in 103 total games. He struck out 26.3% and walked at 6.4% at both levels. Cave’s stats were powered by a fantastic month of July, where he raked to a .390/.439/.667 line with seven homers and 21 RBIs in 26 games. Cave fits in as a potential fourth outfielder for the MLB club, or as the first depth option at Triple-A.

Rumbelow had an impressive year in his comeback from Tommy John. In 25 total games, he logged a 1.12 ERA with a stellar 10.0 K/9 rate with Double-A and Triple-A. Of those 25 appearances, he finished 14 games (6 saves) and worked to a 5-1 W-L record. Rumbelow will have to impress during Spring Training to gain a spot in a crowded and talented Yankees bullpen.

These moves are just the first round of roster maneuvering for the Yankees, since they have a plethora of young prospects who need protection from the Rule 5 draft.

Erik Kratz Elects Free Agency

Catcher Erik Kratz has elected to become a free agent rather than accept an outright assignment to the minor leagues, the Yankees announced today.

The move comes as no surprise since Kratz was added simply as a depth option once Kyle Higashioka was ruled out for the season. Kratz served as the third catcher on the roster once they expanded to 40 for the month of September. He finished with a 1.000/1.000/1.500 line after going 2-for-2 in four games with the Yankees. He also drove in two runs.

Kratz debuted with the Pirates in 2010, and has bounced around between a myriad of different teams since then. He has a career .203/.250/.366 line through 228 MLB games.

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