Yankees claim David Huff off waivers; designate Francisco Rondon for assignment

2013 Draft: Sean Manaea will not pitch again this season
Game 48: Reverse Split
(Jason Miller/Getty)
(Jason Miller/Getty)

The Yankees have claimed left-hander David Huff off waivers from the Indians, the team announced. Fellow southpaw Francisco Rondon has been designated for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster. A 25-man roster move will be made when Huff joins the team at some point in the next 72 hours. You might remember when he took an Alex Rodriguez line drive to the head in 2010.

Huff, 28, owns a 5.40 ERA and 4.88 FIP in 288.1 career innings spread across 52 starts and six relief appearances. His days as a starter are pretty much over and I assume the Yankees will try him out in relief. According to PitchFX, Huff sat right around 90 mph with a four-seamer as a starter, but that jumped into the 92-94 mph range in relief this year. His best secondary pitches are a low-90s cutter and a low-to-mid-80s changeup, which usually isn’t a lefty specialist mix. A low-80s curveball is a distant fourth pitch. Lefty batters have tagged him for a .391 wOBA in his career.

Because he is out of minor league options, the Yankees can not send Huff to Triple-A without exposing him to waivers. Considering he made it all way to New York on waivers this time, he might go unclaimed if they decide to slide him through again a la Sam Demel a few weeks ago. If they decide to keep him around with the big league team for the time being, I guess Ivan Nova is the top send-down candidate. Shawn Kelley and Preston Claiborne have been too effective to send down in favor of a second southpaw.

Rondon, 25, was added to the 40-man roster after last season to prevent him from being exposed in the Rule 5 Draft. He had success out of the bullpen in 2012, but the Yankees moved him back into the rotation this year for whatever reason and the results were terrible: 7.46 ERA and 5.83 FIP in 35 innings while repeating the Double-A level. Rondon broke off some nasty sliders in Spring Training, and I suppose there’s a chance he will get claimed off waivers since he’s left-handed and has all three minor league options remaining.

As Joel Sherman notes, the Yankees were considering Huff in the first round of the 2006 draft. When the Indians grabbed him with the 39th overall pick, New York was left to take Joba Chamberlain with the 41st selection. Their interest in the southpaw was long-standing.

2013 Draft: Sean Manaea will not pitch again this season
Game 48: Reverse Split
  • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting)

    So probably Nuno gets demoted after today’s game.
    Or I suppose Nova could get sent down instead.
    I don’t really get the point of the move, as I assume Huff will likely be gone once Joba and Pettitte get back, and it doesn’t appear that he has any options left.

    • Laz

      He is a short term filler.
      Rondon would probably get cut once they need to start bringing 60 day dl guys back.

  • Jon G

    Weird. Probably just stacking AAA relievers as a backup to Cabral..? They must see something that they like as a potential reliever…

  • JohnnyC

    Waiting for the other shoe to drop. Too many moves to make just to take a flyer on a “possible” second lefty out of the pen. On Rondon, why didn’t they just leave well enough alone? Even in the midst of his horror show this season at AAA, he held lefties to 205/.279/.308 with just two XBH and four BBs in 39 ABs this season

  • IRememberCelerinoSanchez

    I don’t really understand this move. I wonder if there is more to Huff than meets the eye, because, statistically, he’s really bad. And he has a reverse platoon split in his career (lefties in 405 plate appearances have hit .316/.388/.514/.902 off of him), so he’s not a LOOGY. He’s not a starter, based on his career results (in 1261 plate appearances, opponents have hit .298/.352/.495/.847 off him as a starter). And in a small sample size, he has been not so great as a reliever.

    Unless they immediately waive him to see if they can get him through and send him to AAA, I don’t know what he brings to the table that any of the current members of the MLB staff (and many of the AAA staff) don’t.

  • mustang (The Has Been & Wannabes Bunch 2013)

    The way Cashman been picking these scraps this year I can’t question him anymore. This guy will probably become a shut down lefty in pinstripes.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Not seeing the point, but I’ll go with it.

    Welcome aboard, Huff. I’d really stay clear of Cabral if I were you.

  • Ben Francisco

    I survived another move and still hanging around bitches!! Muwahahahaha!!

  • forensic

    Well, this seems like a complete waste and will quite possibly make the team worse instead of better since he has to be on the 25-man. Don’t get it at all.

  • christopher

    i understand the move and like it but i don’t know why they will let Rondon to waivers ???

  • Mattinglyfan03

    Looks to me like a guy they’re going to waive and try and send down to AAA for added depth. If he doesn’t get through, oh well, you can’t miss what you never had.