Category: Transactions

Yankees Sign Shane Robinson to Minor League Deal

The 33-year-old is just the second outfielder invited to Yankees camp.

The Yankees added another name to their crowded outfield mix Thursday, adding former Angel Shane Robinson on a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training. The deal was first reported by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.

As the tweet illustrates, Robinson would make $950,000 if he’s on the big league roster. That is more than Aaron Judge will make in 2018, oddly enough. The 33-year-old saw 20 games in the MLB last season, slashing .194/.257/.194. He was a fifth-round pick of the Cardinals in 2006.

The signing of Robinson is just another depth move. The Yankees only invited one pure outfielder to camp (top prospect Estevan Florial), and a utility player (Jace Peterson). The surplus of outfielders at the big league level means Robinson would not get guaranteed time at Triple-A Scranton. It is unclear if Robinson has an opt-out in his contract related to his roster status at the end of Spring Training.

With the signing of Robinson, here is the current Yankee outfield depth:

  1. Jabari Blash
  2. Jake Cave
  3. Jacoby Ellsbury
  4. Estevan Florial
  5. Clint Frazier
  6. Brett Gardner
  7. Aaron Hicks
  8. Aaron Judge
  9. Billy McKinney
  10. Shane Robinson
  11. Giancarlo Stanton

Clearly, a lot of competition. That list doesn’t include guys like Peterson, Ronald Torreyes and Tyler Wade, who have all logged games in the outfield. Barring injuries, it looks like the MLB outfield is set. Robinson is likely competing for Triple-A playing time.

Yankees Acquire Russell Wilson From Rangers

The Seahawks QB will be assigned to the Yankees Double-A affiliate.

Yes, you read that correctly. The New York Yankees have their franchise quarterback now, as they traded future considerations to the Texas Rangers for Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson.

While football is my passion and my livelihood, baseball remains a huge part of where I came from and who I am today. I’ve learned so much on the baseball field that translates to my game physically and mentally playing Quarterback in the NFL. I thank the Rangers and their great fans for making me feel at home and a part of the family! While I embrace the chance to be a New York Yankee, I will forever be grateful to be a part of a world class organization like the Texas Rangers.

– Official statement from Russell Wilson.

Wilson was drafted with the fifth pick in the 41st round of the 2007 draft by the Baltimore Orioles, but opted to attend North Carolina State for football and baseball. In 2010, the Colorado Rockies selected Wilson 140th overall. In 93 MiLB games, Wilson slashed .229/.354/.356 with five home runs between Low-A and High-A in the Rockies organization. He did not attend Spring Training in 2012 because he was drafted 75th overall by the Seattle Seahawks in the 2012 NFL Draft.

“We’ve admired Russell’s career from afar for quite some time. This is a unique opportunity for us to learn from an extraordinary athlete who has reached the pinnacle of his profession,” said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.

The QB spent the last few years around the Texas Rangers, who had selected him in the 2013 Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft. He attended their Spring Training camp in Surprise, Arizona, prior to the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Per a report from MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, Wilson will be assigned to the Double-A Trenton Thunder.

Wilson is a four-time Pro Bowler at QB, and led the Seahawks to a 43-8 rout of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. Since his debut in 2012, Wilson has thrown for 22,176 yards and 161 touchdowns, and has a 98.8 quarterback rating. In 2017, he led the Seahawks to a 9-7 record, though his team did miss the playoffs. He was extended by the Seahawks in 2015, signing a four-year, $87.6 million deal.

Yankees Sign Wade LeBlanc to Minor League Contract

The Yankees added lefty pitching depth Tuesday, signing veteran Wade LeBlanc to a minor league deal per Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.

 

Like the tweet says, LeBlanc will be able to opt out of his contract if he does not make the MLB team out of Spring Training. He will make $1 million if he ends up on the Opening Day roster.

LeBlanc, 33, debuted for the San Diego Padres late in the 2008 season. He pitched once for the Yankees in 2014, allowing two runs on two hits and a walk. The team designated him for assignment just eight days after acquiring him off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

In 2017, LeBlanc made 50 appearances out of the bullpen for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He finished the season with a 4.50 ERA and a 7.1 strikeouts-per-nine rate. He was used in a versatile manner, making 20 appearances where he recorded more than three outs. His longest outing was 5⅓ innings April 10 against the Cincinnati Reds, when Tyler Glasnow could not escape the first-inning.

LeBlanc will be in camp to compete as a depth starter and long reliever. The Yankees bullpen is mostly set at this point, but things certainly change once the Grapefruit League gets revved up. He looks to profile as an Adam Warren-like pitcher, who can throw multiple innings in relief and also be ready to make an emergency start. It’s unclear if LeBlanc would consider remaining with the organization if he does not crack the big league roster.

The Yankees now have three players with non-roster invitee status this spring: LeBlanc joins Erik Kratz and Jace Peterson as veterans looking for a new club.

Yankees to Sign Jace Peterson to MiLB Deal

The Yankees have reportedly made another depth signing Friday, inking former Atlanta Braves infielder Jace Peterson to a minor league contract, according to SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. The deal presumably includes an invitation to MLB Spring Training. The club has not confirmed the signing.

Peterson, 27, was drafted with the 58th overall pick of the 2011 MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres. He debuted with them three years later, ironically enough as an injury replacement for former Yankee and current Padre Chase Headley. He was a piece in the trade that sent outfielder Justin Upton from the Atlanta Braves to the Padres prior to the 2015 season. Peterson was non-tendered by the Braves after the 2017 season.

Here’s a look at his 2017 stats:

Year Age Tm G PA AB H HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2017 27 ATL 89 215 186 40 2 17 3 27 48 .215 .318 .317 .635

Fangraphs measured Peterson at -0.4 fWAR for his 2017 contributions. As a non-roster player, he is looking to prove to the Yankees organization that he deserves a spot in the system as a lefty-swinging utility player. He had suited up at all seven non-pitcher/catcher positions for the Braves over the past two seasons. Plus, his experience as a player with starting experience in the big leagues should prove valuable in a clubhouse full of younger players.

Peterson joins catcher Erik Kratz as the second player reportedly coming to Spring Training as a non-roster invitee. Undoubtedly, the Yankees will continue to bring outsiders and younger players into camp as they construct their team for the 2018 season.

Yankees Re-Sign CC Sabathia

UPDATE (Dec. 26 at 3 p.m. ET): The Yankees officially announced the signing on the day after Christmas via Twitter.


The Yankees locked up a pivotal part of their 2018 starting rotation Saturday, agreeing to a one-year, $10 million contract with veteran lefty CC Sabathia.

“CC feels there’s unfinished business to attend to,” agent Kyle Thousand of Roc Nation Sports told MLB.com. “There were competitive offers that CC was weighing, but in the end, CC wanted to come back and win a championship with the Yankees. He loves his teammates, the clubhouse and the moves the Yankees are making. He wants to bring home another championship to the Yankee fans.”

CC made it clear after the Yankees were eliminated in Game 7 of the ALCS that he wanted to return to the Bronx to finish out his career. He has not commented on his future in baseball beyond the 2018 season.

“I feel like this is a young team, and we will turn this into something great,” Sabathia said after Game 7. “This is my home, and I want to see this thing through.”

Sabathia will simply need to pass a physical for the deal to be official. The 37-year-old was a huge part of the Yankees rotation in 2017, pitching to a 14-5 record and 3.69 ERA in the final year of the deal he signed prior to the 2009 season. He won a World Series with the Yankees that year, and has been crucial to the team ever since.

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The veteran brings expertise and consistency to the back of a Yankees rotation in need of a few more arms. With innings limits looming on young starters Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery, the Yankees will have to rely on the veterans like Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka and Sonny Gray to pitch well consistently.

The Yankees may continue their pursuit of another starting pitcher even with Sabathia back in the fold. The team has been linked in trade talks recently to Arizona Diamondbacks LHP Patrick Corbin, Detroit Tigers RHP Michael Fulmer and Pittsburgh Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole.

Yankees to Sign International Prospects Raimfer Salinas, Antonio Cabello

After the Yankees worked hard to acquire international signing bonus pool money to woo Shohei Ohtani, they have bestowed it on different recipients. Per Baseball America’s Ben Badler, the Bombers will sign international amateur outfielder Raimfer Salinas and catcher Antonio Cabello.

Badler said on Twitter that the amount of money each player signed for would not be published yet “out of respect for the requests of several Venezuelan players/families”. The Yankees had $3.5 million in signing bonus money that they needed to spend before next summer.

Salinas is 16 years old, and is ranked as the No. 10 international prospect for the 2017 class. Cabello is 17 years old, and ranked at No. 15 on the same Baseball America list. The two join OF Everson Pereira (No. 5), SS Ronny Rojas (No. 11), SS Roberto Chirinos (No. 20) and OF Anthony García (No. 28) as the six players on Baseball America’s top 50 prospects list now in the Yankees organization.

These players join a system that already boasts five prospects on MLB.com’s Top 100 list: INF Gleyber Torres, RHP Chance Adams, OF Estevan Florial, LHP Justus Sheffield and 3B Miguel Andújar.

The club has not confirmed the signings of Salinas or Cabello at this point.

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.