Yankees re-sign David Herdon to minor league deal

2013 Draft: Baseball America ranks Yankees' haul third best in MLB
A view from old Yankee Stadium's home plate over the years
(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Yankees have started the process of adding bullpen depth for next season. The team has re-signed right-hander David Herndon to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training, according to his agent Joshua Kusnick. He will be Rule 5 Draft eligible in December, but if he goes unclaimed, he’ll come to camp with a chance to win a bullpen spot.

Herndon, 28, blew out his elbow early in the 2012 season with the Phillies and needed Tommy John surgery. Philadelphia removed him from the 40-man roster over the winter and, after a brief detour through Toronto, he was claimed off waivers by the Yankees. New York then removed Herndon from their 40-man roster and gave him a new minor league contract after he cleared waivers and elected free agency.

After returning from his elbow reconstruction in late-June, Herndon pitched to a 2.78 ERA (~2.20 FIP) with a good strikeout rate (9.1 K/9 and 22.5 K%) and a good walk rate (2.5 BB/9 and 6.3 BB%) in 35.2 innings across 21 minor league appearances. He steadily climbed the ladder during what amounted to a rehab assignment, topping out at Triple-A Scranton.

Back in July, Ken Rosenthal heard from a scout that Herndon had been running his fastball up 94 mph during his minor league outings. He was primarily a low-90s sinker/low-80s slider reliever while with the Phillies, but he did touch 94 on occasion. If nothing else, his stuff has come back. During his three seasons in Philadelphia, Herndon was more of a ground ball guy (55.3%) than a strikeout guy (5.9 K/9 and 15.0 K%).

There’s nothing exciting about signing a reclamation project like Herndon, but the Yankees have a big 40-man roster crunch and need to acquire as many quality players on minor league deals as possible to build depth, something they lacked in 2013. The bullpen is usually the easiest place to do this, at least in terms of sheer numbers, plus it’s a good way to save some cash as the club looks to get under the $189M luxury tax threshold. The Yankees watched Herndon rehab and pitch in their system this year, they had to like something they saw to bring him back.

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2013 Draft: Baseball America ranks Yankees' haul third best in MLB
A view from old Yankee Stadium's home plate over the years
  • Robinson Tilapia

    This is the type of shrewd move that usually gets poo-poo’ed around this time (“TEH BIGGEST MOVE OF TEH OFFSEASON”), but winds up paying dividends when a fresh arm is needed during the season.

    I guess Herndon is from the Josh Phelps school or Rule 5 guys.

  • MannyGeee

    ZOMG! Get the parade floats ready….

    /Tilapias Comment’d

    I can dig it, stack up the AAA arms like cord wood. I literally want a 25 man AAA roster full of these guys, because you know you’ll need them.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      BUT TEH BASEBALL AMERICA RANKIIIIIIIIIIINGZ……

      • Truther

        Hey Jackass, if you are just going to make fun of what people comment about certain topics, why read and why post so much like you do.

        Damn dude, for someone who criticizes these types of forums as much as you do, you are sure participating very often.

        MAYBE YOUS TEH PROBLAMZ

        • BFDeal

          Looks like his lampooning of ridiculous comments hit a little too close to home.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            Robert Plant once said “You’re no one until you’ve been trolled.”

            #orsomethinglikethat

            • Silvio

              Laurel

        • jjyank

          Making fun of dumb comments keeps you sane.

          • Silvio

            Hardy

        • Mr. Roth

          I don’t think he criticizes “these types of forums.” I think he criticizes people [like you] who make stupid comments on them.

  • Strive

    Is there really a 40-man crunch?

    Certainly they don’t have a million spaces, but is it any worse than other .500+ teams?

    • mitch

      I don’t think there’s an issue. There’s plenty of crap that can be cleared away. I hope it gets to the point where they have to make decisions on decent prospects like Flores and Joseph because that means they’ve added a bunch of talent.

  • Nathan

    Who?

    • RetroRob

      Just wait until he becomes the closer-of-the month next year!

    • I’m One

      Yeah, you know he’s not (yet) a critical piece when we don’t even get a picture of him in a Yankee uniform. :-)

  • LarryM Fl

    Seems a good move to me. Ground ball guy who can get it up there at 94 at a minor league deal. Could be a good signing with all upside

  • Adam

    I think the article is a too long for the subject. Why don’t you do a post on the best urinal in the stadium while you are at it.

  • http://www.rugenrealty.com Billy

    I’d be pretty surprised if he’s not taken in Rule 5 draft – he’s the type of guy the yanks would take…

    • Aims

      He won’t be eligible, he signed as a minor league free agent, he isn’t a prospect from the farm system

      • http://www.rugenrealty.com Billy

        I thought that didn’t matter; I thought it was anyone with the requisite time and not on the 40-man roster. Isn’t that how Josh Hamilton was taken?

    • Caballo Sin Nombre

      Even so, he would have to stick on the other team’s 25 man roster. If he’s truly a 26th-40th man, the Yankees get him back.

  • qwerty

    Good signing, no brainer.