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.
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:
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.
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.
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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After appealing his original four-game suspension, Gary Sánchez will serve a three-game ban during the team’s series in Baltimore.
The Yankee catcher expressed remorse for his actions through a post on his Facebook page. The discipline was handed down after video showed Sánchez landing multiple sucker punches on Tigers players August 24.
Sánchez homered twice August 23, and did so again in his first at-bat on the 24th. Michael Fulmer hit him with a pitch in his next at-bat. Later in the game, Yankee reliever Tommy Kahnle threw behind Miguel Cabrera, who has instigated multiple incidents with the Yankees this season. Cabrera is currently serving a six-game suspension.
There is no word on Austin Romine‘s appeal of his two-game suspension. Joe Girardi told reporters that Romine will start all three games in Baltimore. Recently-acquired Erik Kratz will serve as backup catcher.
September 1 has arrived, and the Yankees have made widely expected roster moves to take advantage of expanded rosters.
With suspensions to Gary Sánchez and Austin Romine looming, the Yankees selected the contract of Erik Kratz from Triple-A. The Yankees traded for him from the Cleveland organization Thursday as depth. The 37-year-old veteran was slashing .270/.359/.472 with 13 home runs for Cleveland’s Triple-A affiliate. In 225 MLB games, he carries a .200/.248/.362 line. Luis Cessa moves to the 60-day disabled list to open a 40-man roster spot for Kratz.
Matt Holliday returns from the disabled list now that rosters have expanded. The veteran went .229/.349/.257 combined on his rehab assignment at Class-A Advanced Tampa and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. It becomes hard to figure where he will get at-bats, given the return of Greg Bird and resurgence of Chase Headley.
The Yankees reinforce the bullpen by adding Ben Heller and Bryan Mitchell. Heller has been fantastic for Triple-A, with a 2.88 ERA and a 13.1 K/9 rate. Mitchell worked as a starter in Scranton, but has pitched mostly in long relief with the big league club. Jordan Montgomery also rejoins the Yankees.
Notable names to stay in the minors are Miguel Andújar, Tyler Austin and Tyler Wade. Both Austin and Wade were optioned to Scranton less than 10 days ago, and cannot come back unless there is an injury. There is no word on whether they will be promoted once 10 days have passed. Andújar, who has been on an offensive tear (currently on a 15-game hitting streak, .333/.379/.531 at Triple-A) remains in the Minors presumably to get full-time at-bats, continue working on his third base defense and help the RailRiders win a championship.