Category: Transactions

Yanks Select Sheffield; Recall Germán; Transfer Frazier to 60-Day DL

More bullpen reinforcements, including the Yankees’ No. 1 prospect.

Yankees fans will finally get a glimpse of the future, as the team selected the contract of left-handed pitcher Justus Sheffield on Tuesday morning. The team also recalled righty Domingo Germán in the same transaction. The Yankees clearly think both arms could help the team now that the RailRiders have been eliminated from the Triple-A playoffs.

Justus Sheffield, the Yankees No. 1 prospect, took a big step forward in the Yankees system in 2018, going 6-6 with a 2.48 ERA in 21 games (he entered in the second inning June 27 to allow A.J. Cole to have a rehab start) before being moved to the bullpen. The bullpen move was definitely not performance-based, but likely a way to simultaneously limit his innings and prepare him for a role at the big-league level. He owned a 2.45 ERA in 7⅓ innings across four regular season outings as a reliever. In three playoff outings, he posted a 3.60 ERA across five innings.

Domingo Germán appeared in 19 games for the Yanks, with 13 of them starts. He had an overall 5.68 ERA in 82⅓ innings, though his 3.52 ERA in relief clearly eclipses the 6.18 mark as a starter. He was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after a disastrous outing against the Mets on July 20, allowing four runs in just 3⅔ innings. A week later, he was placed on the MiLB disabled list with biceps tendinitis and ulnaritis. He spent a month on the DL before returning to rehab in the Gulf Coast and Florida State leagues – pitching to a 6.14 ERA in 7⅓ innings. In two playoff starts with Triple-A, Germán went 0-1 with a 4.76 ERA.

To clear a 40-man spot for Sheffield, Clint Frazier was transferred to the 60-day disabled list. It’s an unfortunately lost season for Frazier, who came to the Yankees alongside Sheffield from Cleveland in the 2016 Andrew Miller trade. The 24-year-old appeared in just 69 games combined between the majors and minors because of concussion issues. Frazier had started a rehab assignment with Tampa on August 12, and then did not play again until August 30. He went 2-for-5 in those two games, and was set to join Double-A Trenton in the Eastern League playoffs before the concussion symptoms returned. Across all levels, he finished the season batting .298/.387/.531 with 11 home runs and 26 RBIs.

It remains to be seen with the next step is for the outfielder, since he has too much service time to be assigned to the Arizona Fall League. I’d have to imagine he’ll play some winter ball in the Caribbean to make up for lost games. Yankees fans have to be hoping he’ll be back to his old self by next February.

Jonathan Loáisiga Recalled

Johnny Lasagna is back!

September 2 brings a second call-up now that rosters have expanded, as the Yankees recalled right-handed pitcher Jonathan Loáisiga from Double-A Trenton. He had been scheduled to start today for the Thunder.

Loáisiga made his MLB debut June 15, throwing five innings of shutout ball against Tampa Bay. He wound up making four starts before being optioned, and dealing with inflammation in his right shoulder. He finished his first MLB stint with a 2-0 record and 3.00 ERA (2.87 FIP).

The 23-year-old returned to action August 11, making one start in the Gulf Coast League and another three for Trenton. He didn’t record a decision, but owned a 2.45 ERA in 11 innings pitched.

The Yankees signed Loáisiga as a minor league free agent February 9, 2016, after he was released by San Francisco. He was added to the 40-man roster in the 2017 offseason.

 

Yankees Acquire Hechavarría From Pirates; Designate Bollinger for Assignment

More infield depth for the Bombers.

The Yanks added infield insurance just before the 11:59 p.m. Eastern deadline for postseason eligibility, acquiring defensive stud Adeiny Hechavarría from the Pittsburgh Pirates (with cash considerations) in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Just about all of Hechavarría’s value comes from his glove, as he owns a meager .254/.287/.342 (69 wRC+) batting line across 76 games with Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh in 2018. The Pirates acquired him August 6 for a minor-league pitcher after Tampa Bay designated him for assignment August 1.

In 625⅓ innings at shortstop in 2018, Hechavarría has totaled +3 defensive runs saved and owns a +1.5 UZR. He has just three fielding errors this season, and five total at shortstop over the past two years. He also has 70⅔ innings of experience at second base, and 156 innings at third base. However, he has played exclusively shortstop since moving from Toronto to Miami in their mega-deal in November 2012.

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In my opinion, this deal is simply a way to improve infield defense now that rosters have expanded to 40 players. Hechavarría is definitely not the kind of move you make to cover up a setback to Didi Gregorius‘ heel bruise, but it’s a move that allows for plenty of quality infield depth. It also seems to indicate that Gio Urshela will remain with the RailRiders through their playoff push. It’s worth noting that Hechavarría has a .299/.319/.418 (99 wRC+) line in his career at Yankee Stadium, though that just seems to be one of those crazy baseball quirks.

The Yankees will now have a surplus of utility infielders, as Hechavarría will join Ronald Torreyes, Tyler Wade and Neil Walker as options off the bench.


It seems the Yanks are trying to push Ryan Bollinger off the 40-man roster for a second time, having outrighted him May 27 after a one day appearance on the active roster. He was added again July 31, though he was optioned to the minors the next day. I believe he can elect free agency in lieu of another outright assignment, though the Yankees will try to sneak him through waivers after designating him for assignment.

Yankees Acquire McCutchen from Giants for Avelino, De Paula

With Aaron Judge‘s wrist injury taking far longer than the original three-week recovery timetable, Brian Cashman has got the Yankees some badly needed outfield help. After clearing waivers August 22, the Bronx Bombers have acquired right fielder Andrew McCutchen from the San Francisco Giants for a package of Abiatal Avelino and Juan De Paula.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post first reported the deal was gaining moment him, and Buster Olney of ESPN reported that the deal was done. McCutchen is a clear offensive upgrade over Shane Robinson in right field, and allows Neil Walker to return to his usual role as an infielder for the Yankees.

In his first (and only) season in San Francisco, the 2013 NL MVP was batting .255/.357/.415 (115 wRC+) with 15 homers and 55 RBI. Those numbers are, undoubtedly, affected by him playing his home games at AT&T Park, which is more pitcher friendly than PNC Park.  He’s been hot of late, batting .277/.404/.468 (140 wRC+) since August 15.

After a few seasons too many in center field for the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Giants converted McCutchen to right field full-time in 2018. He’s made just two errors in right this season, and is worth +2 defensive runs saved. Ultimate Zone Rating has him at -0.9, which is just barely below average.

The Yankees are sending two prospects to San Francisco as they will be splitting the remaining financial commitment to McCutchen. It’s unclear when McCutchen will be activated by the Yankees, but I would guess he debuts in pinstripes after the September 1 roster expansion date.


Part of the group headed to San Francisco will be infield prospect Abiatal Avelino, ranked as the No. 23 prospect in the Yankees system. The 23-year-old enjoyed a breakout early in the season with Double-A Trenton, but has slowed down offensively with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

His overall .287/.333/.446 line is quite impressive in 123 total games, but it is buoyed by a .337/.392/.553 line in 49 games for Double-A Trenton. His power and on-base skills have sort of vanished in the International League, where he’s hitting .252/.291/.372. He does have 25 stolen bases, and can play third, shortstop and second base. Avelino will be a minor league free agent after the season if he is not added to the 40-man roster, and is eligible for the Rule 5 draft.

The other piece in the deal is righty Juan De Paula, whom the Yankees acquired from Seattle in the Ben Gamel trade two years ago today. The 20-year-old was in his second straight season with Short-A Staten Island, pitching to a 1.71 ERA in 10 games (nine starts). De Paula was ranked as the team’s No. 26 prospect.

Yankees Sign Quintin Berry to MiLB Deal, Assign Him to SWB

A likely September call-up joins the organization ahead of the August 31 deadline.

The Yankees announced Monday afternoon that they signed pinch-runner extraordinaire Quintin Berry to a minor-league deal, and have assigned him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Berry, a 33-year-old who was a fifth round pick of the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2006 draft, hit .258/.330/.354 in 94 games for the Detroit Tigers in 2007. That was the last time he played regularly in the big leagues, but appeared mostly in a pinch-running and late-inning defense role for the Red Sox in 2013, Orioles in 2014, Cubs in 2015 and Brewers in 2017. He’s appeared in 38 games in that span (all after Sept. 1), and has a .357/.400/.571 line (all hits came in 2013 for Boston). Berry has gone 8-for-10 in stolen base attempts since 2013.

The speedy outfielder re-signed with Milwaukee in the offseason, and played in 42 games for their Triple-A team, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox of the Pacific Coast League. Despite the PCL’s penchant for inflated batting lines, Berry batted just .214/.290/.321 (62 wRC+) with a 33.3% strikeout rate. He stole 10 bases in 11 attempts. The Brewers released him August 23, and he signed with the Yankees four days later.

Wearing No. 26, he debuted for the RailRiders that night in a 9-to-8 win over Lehigh Valley, pinch-running for Mike Ford in the top of the 10th inning and scoring on a Devyn Bolasky single.

Having someone like Berry on the roster will be incredibly valuable down the stretch, especially for the Yankees, who have been using Neil Walker out of position in right field for 11 starts so far. Berry is capable of providing fresh legs and competent defense to a Yankees outfield that has been brutally depleted by injuries all year.

Chance Adams Optioned to Triple-A

The Yankees weren’t completely idle on their off-day Thursday, making one transaction most fans saw coming. The team optioned right-hander Chance Adams to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after Wednesday night’s loss in Miami.

Adams threw 1⅔ innings in relief in that game, turning a two-run deficit into a six-run deficit for the Yankees. He allowed four runs on four hits and three walks, including a pinch-hit homer by JT Riddle. However, in Adams’s defense, he was making his first relief appearance since August 18, 2016, when he was with Double-A Trenton.

In 6⅔ innings in the majors, Adams is 0-1 with an 8.10 ERA. With Triple-A, he is 3-5 with a 4.98 ERA.

Chapman Placed on DL; Adams Recalled; Rabago Claimed

The Yankees placed closer Aroldis Chapman on the 10-day disabled list today, and recalled righty Chance Adams from Triple-A to take his roster spot. The Yanks claimed catcher Chris Rabago from the Colorado Rockies and optioned him to Double-A Trenton.

Chapman had been pitching through tendinitis in his left knee all season, but had been able to manage it himself. He told reporters after the game Tuesday that the pain he felt was worse than usual. He threw just six pitches in his appearance in the 12th inning before summoning the trainer from the dugout. He was relieved by Tommy Kahnle, who got the save 17 pitches later. Chapman is 3-0 with a 2.11 ERA in 50 appearances. He is 31-for-33 in save attempts.

Adams will serve as a long-relief option for the Yankees tonight in Miami, and will be one of the options (along with Luis Cessa and Sonny Gray) to start in Saturday’s doubleheader in Baltimore. The Yanks No. 13 prospect, he made his MLB debut August 4 in Boston, allowing three runs on three hits in five innings of work.

Rabago was the Rockies’ 13th round pick in the 2014 draft. In 66 games for the Double-A Hartford Yard Goats, he was hitting .213/.292/.361 with four home runs and 23 RBI. The Yankees will likely recall Rabago to be the third catcher September 1 until Gary Sánchez returns from his rehab assignment.