Tag: Jonathan Loáisiga

Yankees Acquire A.J. Cole; DFA David Hale

The Cole train makes a stop at the 161st Street–Yankee Stadium station.

Needing bullpen reinforcements, the Yankees hooked up with the Washington Nationals on a simple trade after Monday’s 14-to-1 drubbing of the Minnesota Twins. The Bombers acquired right-hander A.J. Cole from the Nats in exchange for cash considerations.

The Yankees plan to activate Cole for Tuesday’s matchup with the Twins. To clear 25- and 40-man roster space, the team designated fellow righty David Hale for assignment. Hale pitched two scoreless innings of mop-up duty Monday.

Cole had been designated for assignment by the Nationals April 20, so the Yankees likely claimed him off waivers and then arranged the trade with Washington. The 26-year-old has made four appearances (two starts) in 2018, with a not-so-great 13.06 ERA (10.51 FIP) and a 1.298 OPS against him. He was ranked as the Nationals’ No. 10 prospect prior to the 2016 season, per MLB Pipeline.

With injuries to Luis Cessa, Giovanny Gallegos, Ben HellerTommy Kahnle and Adam Warren, the Yankees found themselves down to just Jonathan Loáisiga (who hasn’t pitched above High-A ball) on the 40-man roster. Cole likely will slide into a role in the front-end of the Yankee bullpen, and could be a spot-starter should the Yankees need one.

Cole is still a pre-arbitration player, so he will make $555,300 for this season when on the MLB roster. He will make less than that if he ever goes to the minor leagues. He is out of minor league options, so the Yankees would have to designate him for assignment and hope to outright him off the 40-man to demote him.

Hale finds himself in DFA-limbo now. The Yankees have 10 days to trade, release or outright him to the minors (if he clears waivers). By my research, he has never been outrighted before and also does not have the service time to decline an outright assignment. Therefore, my prediction is that Hale finds himself back with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre sooner rather than later.

Yankees Option 3 to Minor League Camp

Abreu, Estrada and Loáisiga are headed to the Minors.

Twenty-four hours have passed since the Yankees reassigned six players to their minor league camp, and now three more will join them. Infielder Thairo Estrada and RHPs Albert Abreu and Jonathan Loáisiga were optioned out of big league camp. Estrada was sent to Double-A Trenton, while Abreu and Loáisiga are moved to Class-A Advanced Tampa.

Loáisiga was the only one of these three to appear in a game. He threw one scoreless inning and recorded two strikeouts March 2 against the Atlanta Braves. He had an impressive season in the minors last year, with a stellar 1.38 ERA in 11 games in the Gulf Coast League (Rookie) and Short Season-A Staten Island. MLB Pipeline ranked him as the team’s No. 14 prospect. The Yankees signed him out of a tryout in February 2016.

Abreu came to the Yankees in the trade that sent Brian McCann to the Houston Astros. Ranked as the team’s No. 5 prospect, his spring was derailed by an emergency appendectomy. He has since resumed throwing, but did not appear in any exhibition games. Despite dealing with a shoulder strain, Abreu threw 53⅓ innings between Rookie, Low-A and High-A before a stint in the Arizona Fall League in 2017. His regular season ERA was 3.38 between the three levels before posting a 2.60 mark in six AFL starts.

Estrada turned heads behind a .301/.353/.392 (107 wRC+) line in 122 games for Double-A Trenton. The 22-year-old also logged innings at shortstop, second base and third base in the Eastern League. Then, in 20 Arizona Fall League games, Estrada slashed his way to being named the No. 10 prospect with a .342/.381/.430 line in the fall circuit. But, Estrada was shot in the right hip during a botched robbery attempt in his home country of Venezuela. He is expected to return to game action in 2018, although the timetable is not clear. Estrada signed for $49,000 in August 2012.


These players were optioned, rather than reassigned, because all three of them are on the 40-man roster. Each was added to the 40-man this past offseason, so they each have two option years remaining. The Yankees can promote and re-option these players as many times during the 2018 season without burning another option year.

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.