Yankees designate Russ Canzler for assignment


The Yankees have designated Russ Canzler for assignment, the team announced. The move clears room on the 40-man roster for Travis Hafner, whose one-year contract is now official. That means his physical went well, so good news.

Canzler, 26, was claimed off waivers from the Indians earlier this offseason. It was the third time he was claimed off waivers this winter, so it’s no slam dunk he clears and remains with the organization. Canzler owns a 91 wRC+ in his very brief big league career and was expected to compete for the right-handed hitting bench bat role in Spring Training.

Categories : Asides, Transactions


  1. Jacob The OG (formerly Jacob) says:

    …. I don’t see the sense in this move

    • Havok9120 says:

      How so? Canzler, Diaz, Rivera are all interchangeable pieces competing for the same slot. Having made it to us for a claim in the first place, he’s fairly likely to make it deep into waivers even if he doesn’t pass through completely.

      As to why they aren’t just waiting the two weeks to announce…that I can’t say. I’m willing to bet there’s a reason, though, given the team’s history doing just that.

      • Jacob The OG (formerly Jacob) says:

        I just don’t see the point in taking the chance is all, like you said why not just wait to announce it?

        • Havok9120 says:

          That’s why I’m assuming there’s a reason they can’t do that. We know they know about that tactic, we know they’ve been willing to use it. We can infer something unknown is in play. Could be as minor as Hafner demanding that the deal be announced and officialized quickly, could be the MLB has quietly told teams not to do that this season. Who knows?

          In the end, not that big a deal even if he gets claimed.

          • Jacob The OG (formerly Jacob) says:

            Yeah I just thought he was the best option in the RH OF race but that is just IMO

            • Midnight Rider says:

              a few things at play here, yankees would rather have the name player so they can say at least we sign the best possible players and will roll out his years ago relevancy as proof (see Ichiro) and as soon as hits his 1st shot to RF all yankee-ville will be slobbering over his potential to have that one last magical run…

      • Ted Nelson says:

        Does the deal only become official when it’s announced? i.e. If Hafner got hurt getting in shape for ST, would he lose the $2 million?

        • LK says:

          This is really the only thing I can think of that explains the move. Seems like we’re close enough to ST that Hafner wouldn’t care, but given his history I wouldn’t blame him if he wanted things finalized ASAP.

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

    Chances are he’s nothing but a AAAA player anyway so sayonara Canzler.

  3. HW7 says:

    Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to go be a marginal player somewhere else.

  4. It just figures that they’d release the youngest of the four players.

  5. Jersey Joe says:

    Dam. He really had a lot of potential. Hafner signing doesn’t make much sense to me, just a knee-jerk reaction to ARod problems. I would’ve liked to see Canzler get a role in 2014 with budget cuts, and getting his feet wet this year.

    • Get Phelps Up says:

      Hafner was signed to be the DH. It had nothing to do with ARod.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      I thought signing Hafner made a ton of sense all off-season. Potentially high-reward when he actually plays, and while the chances of him playing a whole season are low so is the price.

      You might still get to see what Canzler can do if he clears waivers, but I don’t think he’s that great a candidate to be a regular contributor.

    • Havok9120 says:

      They fit two different needs (and both are “needs” and not luxuries).

  6. VTYankeesFan says:

    The thing that really sucks is that Banuelos, Pineda, Cabral and A-Rod are all headed to the 60-day DL as soon as it is available to be used, so the roster spot would have been there had we been able to be patient of been able to convince Hafner to take the minor league deal until that point. Seems like we lost a potentially good role player, who was very cost controlled and could have been an strong contributor in 2013 and beyond. Hopefully he gets thru waivers and we can keep him, but the risk is still substantial. I can see why Hafner wouldn’t want the minor league deal and there really are no other better candidates to drop. It is just a big risk considering the current goals.

    • LK says:

      I think it’s pretty hard to describe losing Canzler as a “big risk.” He’s going to be on what, his 4th team this offseason now? Probably not a big deal.

    • Steve (different one) says:

      Well, the reports are that Hafner chose NYY over TB.

      Seems like patience may not have been a luxury the Yankees had.

      If Hafner has another legit offer, you cant really dick around.

  7. Bob Buttons says:

    I’d rather have a Diaz/Rivera than a potentially disastrous 26 year old. Sure, he may end up being better than what we have, but there’s at least an equal chance that he end up being worse.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting) says:

      Considering neither Diaz nor Rivera are on the 40-man roster, that wasn’t really the choice here. Having Diaz and Rivera on minor league contracts just made Canzler more expendable.

      • Bob Buttons says:

        Haha totally forgot about the roster stuff.
        But I still stand my ground on how Canzler can perform much worse than those two.

  8. Radar says:

    He added options at corners. Is youk backup at first? He can’t fill in, back up, and be on DL all at the same time…

  9. trr says:

    Russ, we hardly knew ye….

  10. Greg says:

    what a pathetic winter. To think that we’re getting all excited about Hafner, who hasn’t played a full year in 5 years, and sucked last year, and we gave up Canzler, who has already been cut by two also ran teams this winter. All so we can keep Rivera, who couldn’t cut it with either the Dodgers or Angels last year? Ugh!

  11. Vern Sneaker says:

    I don’t get the complaints about signing Hafner. We had no lefty DH at all, and if he stays healthy will probably make a decent contribution. Should we have signed nobody? And Canzier is totally unimportant. Rivera or Diaz or some surprise in camp won’t be worse than Jones.

  12. jjyank says:

    Wow…can’t believe how many people are lamenting the loss of Canzler. After reading all the “OMG RUSS CANZLER????!!!!!?!?!? *RAGE* What a joke! This is what we’ve been reduced to?!! Grave rolling!!” comments when he was signed, it’s laughable that anyone gets worked up over this. He’s been DFA’d several times in this offseason alone. Maybe…juuuuust maybe he’s not that good.

    Don’t get me wrong, I liked the Canzler signing as a depth option. And that still might even happen if he doesn’t get claimed. But this is not the type of player to worry about losing.

    • Get Phelps Up says:

      I think lots of the people who are complaining about potentially losing Canzler are the same people who were saying that he was a scrub and not worthy of replacing Future HOFer Chris Dickerson when he was claimed.

  13. RetroRob says:

    He might clear. He made it to the Yankees the last time. Then again, the Indians might want him back.

    Cashman’s claiming players and then continuing the search for upgrades over the claims. The Diaz and Rivera signings came after Canzler, so he drew the short straw.

    Still like him, so hopefully they can put him at AAA, but no loss if not.

  14. Robinson Tilapia says:

    “Who the fuck is Russ Canzler?! Idiots!”

    A week later…

    “Why’d they let go of Russ Canzler?! Idiots!”

    • MannyGeee says:

      While you KNOW I agree with you there… You know I do…

      I think the Yankees would have waited to make the corresponding roster move until Hafner passes his physical, since its not, well…. It’s not a given he passes said physical.

      Anywho, we are short our mandatory Russ now, so what’s one to do?

    • RetroRob says:

      …and a week from now:

      “Why’d they sign him for AAA blocking Almonte?! Idiots!”

  15. MartinRanger says:

    I’m pretty confident that out of Diaz/River/Neal/Musty they will find a capable right-handed hitter and one to sit in the minors until needed.

    Honestly this is a case where quantity for a smaller role is more important than (alleged) quality (i.e., Scott Hairston and his .299 OBP in a career year).

    I’m really happy with the Hafner pick-up. Morse was my dream, but that was a bad trade for Seattle.

    I think the team is going to be okay. Yes, they’ll need things to break right. Welcome to the rest of major league baseball. We still have a decent shot at the division if it becomes the dogfight we suspect it will.

    2014 is going to be touch-and-go. But I think the Yankees have a decent shot in 2013. As decent as any recent team. The pitching’s damn good, as good as any Yankees rotation I can recall. And who knows, maybe Pineda surprises us. Stranger things have happened, and he’s young and his isn’t the kind of labrum injury that almost always derails careers.

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