The Yankees have signed left-hander Jose DePaula to a one-year contract, the team announced. Joel Sherman says De Paula will earn $510,000 at the MLB level and $175,000 in the minors, and confirmed he has one minor league option remaining. The Giants designated De Paula for assignment in June and he became a minor league free agent after the season. The Yankees now have 36 players on the 40-man roster.
“He is a hard-throwing lefty. He can be a starter if he stays healthy. He has been a Four-A guy to this point, but he does have upside,” said one executive to Sherman.
De Paula, 26, spent last season in Triple-A with the Giants, where he had a 4.21 ERA (4.36 FIP) in 51.1 innings spread across ten starts and six relief appearances. His season ended in late-July due to an oblique strain. He had a 3.86 ERA (2.57 FIP) in 74.2 Double-A innings as a starter with the Padres in 2013 while battling shoulder tendinitis. San Francisco claimed him off waivers from San Diego last winter. Here are De Paula’s career stats:
De Paula spent the entire 2012 season on the restricted list after it was revealed he was older than originally believed. Baseball America ranked him as the 26th best prospect in the Giants’ system in their 2014 Prospect Handbook, calling him a potential back-end starter who could pitch in any number of roles. Here’s a snippet of their scouting report:
DePaula works at 90-91 mph with an easy arm action and plenty of late tailing, sinking action, topping out near 95. Control never has been an issue, and scouts regard his secondary pitches as average to a tick above. He throws a mid-70s curveball with plus rotation and big vertical break. He has gained feel for his changeup in recent years, and the mid-80s pitch shows enough fade to be effective.
The Yankees obviously like De Paula quite a bit if they put him on the 40-man roster — he’s never pitched in MLB and would have been eligible for the Rule 5 Draft in December had they signed him to a minor league deal — though it remains to be seen whether they will continue to let him start or try him in the bullpen. Low cost, left-handed, has an option left … makes sense to me. Adding cheap pitching depth is never a bad move.