Royals claim Tyler Olson off waivers from Yankees

(Elsa/Getty)
(Elsa/Getty)

The Royals have claimed left-hander Tyler Olson off waivers from the Yankees, the team announced. He was optioned to their Triple-A affiliate. The Yankees designated Olson for assignment the other day to clear a 40-man roster spot for Anthony Swarzak.

Olson, 26, came over from the Dodgers in a minor trade over the winter. He’s spent most of the season with Triple-A Scranton, where he had a 5.27 ERA (3.59 FIP) in 27.1 innings with the RailRiders. Olson had two separate stints with the Yankees but only appeared in one game, allowing two runs in 2.2 innings.

The Yankees are fairly deep in left-handed relievers, though most of them are hurt. Chasen Shreve, Jacob Lindgren, James Pazos, and Phil Coke are all on the DL. Of course, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman are healthy, plus Richard Bleier is on the roster as well. Olson was completely expendable.

Update: Yankees sign Ike Davis to Major League deal

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Monday, 8:30pm: The Yankees have announced the Davis signing, so it’s official. He will wear No. 24. Chad Green was sent to Triple-A Scranton to clear a 25-man roster spot and Layne Somsen was designated for assignment to clear a 40-man roster spot.

Sunday, 2:46pm: Jon Heyman says it’s a done deal. It’s a Major League contract and Davis will be joining the team soon. The Yankees are carrying eight relievers and three-bench players at the moment, so they figure to go back to a normal seven-man bullpen and four-man bench soon.

2:00pm: The Yankees are on the verge of signing Ike Davis, reports Mark Feinsand. Davis opted out of his minor league contract with the Rangers earlier today. New York tried to sign him over the winter, but he went to Texas instead. It’s entirely possible Davis will join the Yankees right away. This might not be a minor league deal.

Davis, 29, hit .268/.350/.437 (111 wRC+) with four homers in 39 Triple-A games this season. Last year he put up a .229/.301/.350 (83 wRC+) batting line with three homers in 74 games with the Athletics. Davis is a dead pull left-handed hitter with one of those Yankee Stadium swings. He’s hit as many as 32 homers in a season.

The Yankees have lost Mark Teixeira (knee), Greg Bird (shoulder), Dustin Ackley (shoulder), and Chris Parmelee (hamstring) to injury, so they’re down to their fifth string first baseman, converted second baseman Rob Refsnyder. They have Nick Swisher in Triple-A, but still needed more first base depth, especially since Swisher can opt-out of his deal this month.

Yankees place Mark Teixeira on 15-day DL with possible season-ending knee injury

(Al Bello/Getty)
(Al Bello/Getty)

Earlier today the Yankees placed Mark Teixeira on the 15-day DL with a “right knee articular cartilage tear,” the team announced. He left last night’s game with discomfort in the knee and went for an MRI. Brian Cashman told Chad Jennings that Teixeira may need season-ending surgery. From Jennings:

“The initial effort is going to try to be to treat it conservatively with rest, probably involving injections, and then see how he responds to that,” general manager Brian Cashman said in a phone call this morning. “… If that doesn’t work, then you’re looking at a surgical procedure. If that’s the case, then his season is probably done.”

Surgery could end not only Teixeira’s season, but also his Yankees career. His eight-year contract is up after the season, and while the team will need a backup plan for Greg Bird at first base next year, they could very well go in another direction. For now it seems the Yankees will be without Teixeira for an extended period of time. This doesn’t figure to be a 15-day stint on the DL.

To replace Teixeira on the roster, the Yankees have called up Chris Parmelee — not Nick Swisher — from Triple-A Scranton. Simply put, the team believes Parmelee is better able to help them than Swisher right now. Parmelee has been the more productive hitter with the RailRiders (131 wRC+ vs. 72 wRC+), he’s seven years younger, he’s healthier, and better able to play the outfield if necessary.

Cashman told Jennings the plan is to mix-and-match at first base for the time being. It makes sense to start Parmelee, a left-handed hitter, against righties. Rob Refsnyder or Austin Romine could get the call against lefties. Refsnyder replaced Teixeira at first last night — it was his first game action at the position at any level — and was fine, though he wasn’t tested with many plays.

Teixeira has not hit at all this season. He owns a .180/.271/.263 (48 wRC+) batting line and hasn’t looked anywhere close to snapping out of his slump. It’s been nearly two full months since he last hit a home run. It’s very possible Parmelee and whoever else will give the team more production at first base than Teixeira has this season. They won’t replace his defense though. Teixeira is still all-world with the glove.

Dustin Ackley, who had season-ending shoulder surgery yesterday, was transferred to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man roster spot for Parmelee. He’ll be with the Yankees tonight.

Yankees send Severino to Triple-A, place Ackley on DL

(Mike Stobe/Getty)
(Mike Stobe/Getty)

5:21pm: Joe Girardi told reporters this afternoon Ackley has a torn labrum in his shoulder and may need surgery. Ouch. Here’s the play where Ackley got hurt:

Dustin Ackley injury

The labrum tear likely ends his season, right? This definitely won’t be a short-term injury. If it does end his season, it figures to end his Yankees career too. Ackley was a prime non-tender candidate this coming offseason. Expect the Yankees to look for a backup first baseman in the coming weeks.

2:21pm: The Yankees have placed utility player Dustin Ackley on the 15-day DL with a dislocated right shoulder, the team announced today. Rob Refsnyder has been recalled to fill the roster spot. Also, the Yankees activated Luis Severino off the DL and optioned him to Triple-A Scranton.

The Severino move is far more notable. He made his first minor league rehab start last night, throwing three scoreless innings with High-A Tampa. Rather than keep him on rehab, the Yankees activated Severino and sent him to Triple-A, meaning he won’t accrue service time. By my unofficial count, 72 days in minors will delay his free agency a year.

Needless to say, the Yankees hope they don’t need to keep Severino in the minors for 72 days. They want him healthy and effective and in their big league rotation. He’s healthy. They wouldn’t have activated him if he weren’t. But effective? Who knows. Severino had a 7.46 ERA (5.48 FIP) in seven starts and 35 innings before the triceps injury. His command in particular was awful.

Aside from Michael Pineda, the Yankees have been getting good to great work from their rotation the last few weeks. Chad Green and Luis Cessa are available as depth options, so they don’t need to rush Severino back, which is good. He’s extremely important to the franchise going forward and they have to get him right. I’m on board with the Triple-A stint. It was time.

As for Ackley, he hurt himself diving back into first base on a pickoff throw yesterday. Mason Williams separated his shoulder the same way last year. (Williams eventually needed surgery.) With Ackley out and Refsnyder up, Austin Romine takes over as the backup first baseman by default. Mark Teixeira is expected to return to the starting lineup tonight after missing a few games with a neck problem.

Yankees release Slade Heathcott

(Brian Blanco/Getty)
(Brian Blanco/Getty)

8:45pm: The Yankees have no plans to re-sign Heathcott, reports Chad Jennings. It’s been real, Slade.

8:32pm: The Yankees have given outfielder Slade Heathcott his unconditional release, the team announced this evening. The move clears a 40-man roster spot for lefty Richard Bleier, who was called up earlier today.

I’m not quite sure how the mechanics of the transaction work, but my guess is the unconditional release makes it easier for the Yankees to re-sign Heathcott to a minor league contract. Designating him for assignment would mean exposing him to waivers.

Heathcott, 25, is currently on the Triple-A DL with a knee injury. He’s hit only .218/.260/.287 (50 wRC+) with a 32.0% strikeout rate in 23 Triple-A games this season. Slade made his MLB debut last year and playing sparingly, but he did do this:

That was pretty awesome. Definitely one of the highlights of the season.

Heathcott has been hampered by all sorts of injuries throughout his career, including multiple knee and shoulder surgeries. He’s played only 302 games total from 2012-16. The Yankees have a small army of left-handed hitting outfielders at Double-A and Triple-A, so it’s possible Slade will look for a team that can give him a greater opportunity. We’ll see.

Fun fact: Heathcott leads all Yankees first round picks from 2007-15 in career WAR. He has +0.4 WAR. Now that I think about it, that fact isn’t fun at all.

Yankees claim Layne Somsen off waivers from the Reds

(AP)
(AP)

The Yankees have claimed right-hander Layne Somsen off waivers from the Reds, the team announced. He’s been optioned to Triple-A Scranton. The Yankees had an open 40-man roster spot after designating Phil Coke for assignment last week, so no other moves are required.

Somsen, 26, made his MLB debut and appeared in two games with the Reds this year, allowing five runs on six hits and three walks in 2.1 innings. He struck out two. Somsen has a 2.59 ERA (3.52 FIP) with a 24.2% strikeout rate and a 10.6% walk rate in 48.2 Triple-A innings the last two years.

PitchFX says Somsen, who is from the baseball hotbed of Yankton, South Dakota, throws a cutter right around 90 mph as well as a low-80s curveball. He’s a reliever, not a starter. The Reds selected Somsen in the 22nd round of the 2013 draft and gave him a chance to help out their bullpen this month. Didn’t work out.

The Yankees have been hit hard by injuries this season, most notably losing bullpen shuttle candidates Branden Pinder (Tommy John surgery), Nick Rumbelow (Tommy John surgery), Bryan Mitchell (toe), and Jacob Lindgren (elbow) to long-term injuries. Somsen helps replace some of that depth.

Yankees sign Neal Cotts to minor league deal

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Yankees have signed veteran left-hander Neal Cotts to a minor league contract, the team announced. He’s heading to Triple-A Scranton. Cotts opted out of his minor league deal with the Angels a few days ago. Seems like he’s taking Phil Coke‘s spot in the organization after Coke was designated for assignment earlier this week.

Cotts, 36, had a 3.29 ERA (3.39 FIP) in 13.2 Triple-A innings with the Angels before opting out. Last season he had a 3.41 ERA (5.00 FIP) in 63.1 innings with the Brewers and Twins, and he held lefties to .178/.243/.330 (.251 wOBA) batting line with a 23.9% strikeout rate and a 5.5% walk rate. Not too bad, huh?

A few weeks back the Yankees signed Coke out of an independent league, where he was working as a starter. Cotts is a pure left-on-left matchup reliever, so he’s not someone who can come up to be a long man. I assume his current deal with the Yankees includes an opt-out date. Probably sometime next month. That’s pretty standard.

Injuries have hit the Yankees pretty hard this season. Already they’ve lost Bryan Mitchell (toe) Nick Rumbelow (Tommy John surgery), Branden Pinder (Tommy John surgery), and Jacob Lindgren (elbow) to injuries, among others. Cotts helps replenish that bullpen depth.

The Yankees signed Cotts to a minor league contract way back in 2011, but he failed his physical and the team walked away. He had Tommy John surgery back in 2009 and has undergone four different hip surgeries over the last few seasons.