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:
- Jabari Blash
- Jake Cave
- Jacoby Ellsbury
- Estevan Florial
- Clint Frazier
- Brett Gardner
- Aaron Hicks
- Aaron Judge
- Billy McKinney
- Shane Robinson
- 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.
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.