Yankees re-acquire Pearce, designate Laird


(Bob Levey/Getty Images)

The Yankees have re-acquired Steve Pearce from the Astros for cash, the team announced. Brandon Laird was designated for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster. No word on how they’ll get Pearce onto the 25-man roster just yet, but I wonder if they’ll be able to wait until tomorrow so they could just option David Phelps to the minors (following tonight’s start) before recalling him when the rosters expand in September. He wouldn’t miss a start thanks to Thursday’s off-day.

Joel Sherman first reported that they were close to bringing Pearce back to serve as a right-handed bat off the bench during the stretch drive. The outfielder/first baseman spent the first half of the season playing for Triple-A Empire State before exercising an opt-out clause in his contract in early-June. The Yankees traded him to the Orioles for cash rather than let him walk as a free agent, then Houston eventually claimed him off waivers from Baltimore.

Pearce, 29, has hit .254/.333/.396 (93 wRC+) in 158 big league plate appearances this season after destroying the Triple-A level (173 wRC+). He’s done a much better job against lefties than righties both this year (120 vs. 80 wRC+) and throughout his career (120 vs. 60 wRC+). Small sample size warnings apply through, the guy only has 679 career plate appearances in the show. Most of his time with the Astros and O’s was spent in the two corner outfield spots, though he has a ton of first base experience as well. Pearce has even played a little third base from time to time.

The 24-year-old Laird really didn’t have anywhere to go with the Yankees. He’s having a decent season repeating Triple-A (98 wRC+), but otherwise is a .256/.295/.409 career hitter in nearly 1,200 plate appearances at the level. Laird had a nice July but the Yankees opted to temporarily recall Ramiro Pena before acquiring Casey McGehee when Alex Rodriguez got hurt. That was a pretty clear indication that Laird had no future in the organization. I suspect he’ll either be traded away in a minor deal or claimed off waivers.

The Yankees have posted a solid 106 wRC+ against southpaws this year, down considerably from last season’s MLB-best 123 mark. Part of that decline has been Andruw Jones‘ inability to repeat last year’s success against lefties (92 vs. 151 wRC+) and Robinson Cano‘s suddenly drastic platoon split (71 wRC+ vs. LHP and 189 vs. RHP). The September schedule loaded with intra-division games (as usual), so the Yankees will see an awful lot of David Price, Matt Moore, Jon Lester, Wei-Yin Chen, Joe Saunders, Ricky Romero, and J.A. Happ down the stretch. Having a spare right-handed bat will definitely come in handy.

Categories : Transactions


  1. The DonSlaught says:


  2. Andy Pettitte's Fibula (formerly Manny's BanWagon) says:

    Put the Champagne on ice!!!

  3. Rich in NJ says:

    If only they had a young RH hitter who could SLG on the ML roster or even at AAA…

    • The Real Greg says:

      Ironically, this is him. He was on our AAA roster this year.

      • Rich in NJ says:

        He’s not young though.

        • The Real Greg says:

          29 is young on this crew.

          • Rich in NJ says:

            That points to another problem.

            • Robinson Tilapia aka Melky's Webmaster says:

              This will somehow end in both of you being wrong.

              • Rich in NJ says:

                About currently having (truly) young ML ready players with upside?

                • Brian S. says:

                  Ever heard of Corban Joseph? And in a year we will have some outfielders and utility guys knocking on the door.

                • Robinson Tilapia aka Melky's Webmaster says:

                  They have young players in AA and AAA with upside that could play a role in the majors. They just have their blue-chippers in the lower levels right now. CoJo, Adams, and even a guy like Mesa would be given a shot if this was another organization with more spots to give.

                  This “problem” isn’t unique to the Yankees and isn’t going to be a problem for very long.

                  • Brian S. says:

                    Corban Joseph and Ronnier Mustelier could help right now IMO and I hope to see them in September. David Adams and Jose Pirela could see action next year, as well as the Almonte brothers. And that is just position players off the top of my head.

                    • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

                      This move probably guarantees Mustelier won’t be called up. Joseph will probably be called up after the AAA season, but I wouldn’t expect him to play much.

                    • Robinson Tilapia aka Melky's Webmaster says:

                      I kept Musty off the list for age reasons.

                    • Brian S. says:

                      I understand. The reason I am still high on Mustelier is that he was an IFA pick up. If he was some 28 year old that had bounced around every farm system in baseball he wouldn’t even be a blip on my radar.

                    • Robinson Tilapia aka Melky's Webmaster says:

                      …and that’s certainly the right counterargument you’re trying to make.

                  • Rich in NJ says:

                    It’s a potential problem until the bats are promoted and are shown sufficient patience to develop at the ML level. They don’t have a terrific track record of doing that in the recent past.

                    • The Real Greg says:

                      You know why that is? Its because the pressure is on the Yankees to win every year and they can’t wait for developing players.

                    • Rich in NJ says:

                      The most successful sports franchises in NY, who both play in a salary cap sport, are the Giants and the Devils. Both regularly develop players.

                      The reason the Yankees have won 5 WS is because they developed from within and supplemented that core with pieces from the outside.

                      The only pressure is self-imposed, and it’s counterproductive.

                    • Brian S. says:

                      Which is why when they have a player that has a .220 ISO and walks as much as he strikes out in AAA they should give him a chance! >:)

          • stephen goordman says:

            Very true.

  4. Eddard the Great says:

    Who? Exactly.

  5. The DonSlaught says:

    It should be noted that “cash” has a higher WAR than any player on the current Astros roster.

  6. The Real Greg says:

    Could help the Andruw Jones situation.

    Pearce hitting .275/.345/.490 against lefties

  7. Need Pitching & Hitting says:

    What would the roster move be to fit him on the 25-man?
    Seems like the options would be to DFA Jones or McGehee, or go with a short bullpen for a couple of days.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

      Or maybe McGehee still has options left.

    • Robinson Tilapia aka Melky's Webmaster says:

      Just drive him in circles until Saturday, when rosters expand.

      Reacquiring our own fodder: always fun. At least we didn’t have George Kontos around this time to trade him.

  8. DERP says:

    I have no idea who could be let go. Jones?

  9. Murderers' Row Boat says:

    And they DFA’d Laird. I just saw him play yesterday at LV. That poor kid can’t catch a break.

  10. aluis says:

    Poor Kid? Are you Serious? He has been called up more than once and he never showed that he could handle the show. So no I don’t feel sorry for Laird.

  11. Robinson Tilapia aka Melky's Webmaster says:

    Does Pearce have to immediately be added to the 25-man? Can’t the team just wait until Saturday with him?

  12. The Real Greg says:

    Outside of picking up Scott Hairston, who will probably get picked up way before us on waivers, this is good.

  13. If they want to consider him for the postseason roster, doesn’t he need to be on the 25 man before September 1?

  14. Brian S. says:

    Maybe they want to DL Teix because his wrist is bothering him? Wasn’t that a rumor a week and a half ago?

  15. Eddard the Great says:

    Do people actually believe that Sam Pearce is going to be the Yankees DH in the playoffs? Hey, now that they have Pearce maybe they can trade A-Rod to the Dodgers! This guy won’t get one postseason at bat, this year or ever.

  16. Jose M. Vazquez says:

    If he can hit lefties then he can help. That is our second major weakness, the first being hitting when we need an important hit.

  17. CP says:

    This is a typical reactionary move by Cashman. The Red Sox go out and make a trade to acquire a platoon first baseman, and Cashman panics and thinks he needs to do the same. Just like the Matsuzaka/Igawa fiasco…

  18. Kosmo says:

    Steve Pearce > Casey McGehee. Not much to get excited about. I wonder if something else might be brewing in the Yankee FO besides coffee.

    • Bob Buttons the Cat says:

      McGehee can actually play legit third base and fake some second. He also had some limited non-platoon success in the majors, unlike Pearce.

  19. Need Pitching & Hitting says:

    Mike, as far as optioning Phelps, doesn’t the 10-day rule still apply even with roster expansion coming up? I thought they wouldn’t be able to bring him back unless he was replacing an injured player or waited until the 10 day elapsed (or the minor league season ended if it’s before 10 days).

  20. vnymfk says:

    Where’s chilli Davis when you need need him

  21. RetroRob says:

    Are we sure this isn’t simply a roster move similar to Ramiro Pena? In other words, Laird is simply being shifted off the 40-man, but will remain in the organization.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

      If Laird clears waivers, they can still outright him to AAA.
      It’s slightly different than the Pena situation, because Pena remained on the 40-man roster. Laird will not, whether he is claimed, traded, or outrighted.

      • RetroRob says:

        Is Pena still on the 40-man roster? I thought the reason they DFA’d Pena was to get him off the 40-man roster and they basically knew he’d clear.

        It doesn’t really matter. If they lose Baird, just as if they had lost Pena, it doesn’t really matter. Neither are players who can be significant contributors to the Yankees. They’re background pieces to call up when there’s an injury. Pena, oddly, is probably the more valuable of the two simply because he can play middle-infield defense and has speed. Laird doesn’t really offer a whole lot the Yankees can use. Plus, with Adams set for promotion to AAA next year, probably playing a lot at 3B, and CoJo now set a second in AAA, both Pena and Laird are more expendable.

  22. RetroRob says:

    Only people here can get worked up over Steve Pearce.

  23. JohnnyC says:

    Probably but someone might just claim him. Unlike Pena, Laird might be able to fake a .700+ OPS in the bigs and he’s only 25 on Sept. 11.

  24. forensic says:

    Hooray!!! Another platoon hitter, and this time it’s one who couldn’t even stick on the Orioles or Astros.

    • steve (different one) says:

      The biggest issue with a platoon is that it takes 2 roster spots. In 3 days, this issue disappears.

      The Yankees paid cash for Pearce. If he does nothing but pinch hit off the bench in September, he is probably worth the pickup. With 40 spots, you can afford those sort of inefficiencies.

      Pearce was decent for the Orioles, he was just a victim of the Thome pickup.

      If this was July, I’d 100% agree with you. For September, why not?

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