Yankees sign righty Jared Burton to minor league contract

(Getty)
(Getty)

Sunday: According to Mike Bernardino, Burton has four opt-out dates in his contract: March 30th, June 1st, August 1st, and August 31st. He can elect free agency if he’s not in the big leagues on those dates. Burton gets a $30,000 bonus for his 20th appearance, $40,000 for his 25th appearance, $50,000 for his 30th appearance, $60,000 for his 35th appearance, and so on until maxing out at $120,000 for his 65th appearance.

Tuesday: Burton will earn a $2M base salary with $750,000 in incentives at the Major League level, reports Jon Heyman.

Monday: The Yankees have signed right-handed reliever Jared Burton to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training, the team announced. He will be the 28th non-roster invitee in camp, joining the original 26 and the recently signed Kyle Davies.

Burton, 33, had a 4.36 ERA (4.23 FIP) with 16.9 K% and 9.2 BB% in 64 innings for the Twins last year. He had a 3.02 ERA (3.50 FIP) with 22.1 K% and 7.2 BB% in 128 innings as Minnesota’s primary setup man from 2012-13. Burton has always been a bit of a fly ball pitcher and his signature pitcher is a splitter-changeup hybrid he calls a splangeup:

Major shoulder surgery caused Burton to miss most of the 2011 season and his fastball has nevertheless managed to hover in the 91-92 mph range the last three years. His numbers are all — and I mean all: strikeouts, walks, grounders, homers — trending in the wrong direction, which is sorta scary, but it is a minor league deal, so it’s not like there’s any serious risk.

The Yankees have a ton of bullpen depth. Righties, lefties, 40-man guys, non-40-man guys, you name it and they have it. Burton is just another arm for depth and unless he comes to camp throwing the ball like he did from 2012-13, I think he’ll start the season with Triple-A Scranton. Chances are his contract includes some kind of opt-out clause if he isn’t on a MLB roster on a specific date. That’s pretty standard for big league vets.

Links: Tickets, Pace of Play, Trades, Travel, Hensley, Ichiro

I'm sick of the offseason too, Brett. (Presswire)
I’m sick of the offseason too, Brett. (Presswire)

Got a whole bunch of random links and notes to pass along, some more important than others. Here’s the latest:

Single game tickets on sale February 24th

Individual game tickets for the 2015 regular season go on sale online on Tuesday, February 24th at 10am ET, the Yankees announced. The Mastercard pre-sale runs from February 18th through the 23rd. You can walk up to the ticket window to purchase tickets starting February 25th. All the details are right here.

MLB, MLBPA making progress on pace of play changes

According to Jon Morosi, MLB and MLBPA are making progress towards rule modifications to speed up the pace of play, and they should have an agreement in place before Spring Training. Teams and players are going to want any changes in place relatively soon so they have all spring to adjust.

It’s unlikely a pitch clock will be added or hitters will be forced to keep at least one foot in the box, says Morosi. It’s more likely both sides will be required to begin play as soon as the television broadcast returns from commercial breaks. That’ll shave, what, a minute or two off each game? It’s something. MLB and MLBPA are expected to continue to look into speeding up games going forward.

Yankees settle all outstanding trades with cash

This stuff is easy to forget about, but the Yankees had several outstanding “player to be named or cash” trades to finalize this offseason. Specifically, they owed a player or cash to the Diamondbacks for Martin Prado, the Athletics for Jeff Francis, and the Indians for Josh Outman. Chad Jennings confirmed all of those trades were settled with cash this offseason, not a player. So there you have it.

2015 travel map

Yankees to travel 29,137 miles in 2015

Over at the indispensable Baseball Savant, Daren Willman posted travel maps for all 30 clubs for the upcoming 2015 season. The Yankees are set to travel 29,137 miles this summer, which is exactly middle of the road — 15th most out of the 30 teams. That is up slightly from 28,001 miles last year. The isolated Mariners will again travel the most miles this year (43,281) while the Reds will travel the fewest (20,612). Usually a more centrally located team like the Royals or Cardinals travels the fewest miles. Lucky for the Reds, I guess.

Preliminary hearing for Hensley attacker set for May

A preliminary hearing for Anthony Morales, the man who allegedly attacked RHP Ty Hensley over the holidays, has been set for May according to Brendan Kuty. Morales has been charged with felony aggravated assault and battery after attacking Hensley following an argument about signing bonuses. Hensley reportedly wouldn’t tell Morales, an ex-college football player who was in training camp with the Carolina Panthers last year, the size of his signing bonus, which is easily Googleable. Hensley suffered multiple facial fractures and lost a tooth in the attack but did not suffer a concussion or other neurological damage. He has resumed throwing bullpens even though his jaw had to be wired shut.

Minor League Ball’s top 20 Yankees prospects

Over at Minor League Ball, John Sickels posted his annual top 20 Yankees prospects list. RHP Luis Severino and OF Aaron Judge predictably claim the top two spots and both received “B+/Borderline A-” grades. “While the Yankees farm system is not at the very top of the organization rankings, it has improved over the last couple of years, should continue to improve, and certainly rates as an upper-tier system,” wrote Sickels. “The large amount of Grade C+ talent gives depth and since much of that talent is quite young and projectable with potentially higher grades to come, there is a lot to look forward to.”

(MLB.com)
(MLB.com)

Ichiro‘s been looking for “enthusiasm” the last two years

A few weeks ago Ichiro Suzuki joined the Marlins on a one-year contract worth $2M. He’ll serve as the fourth outfielder behind a young group that includes Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna in addition to Giancarlo Stanton. At his introductory press conference, Ichiro told Jim Armstrong he felt “incredible enthusiasm” when meeting with the team, “so I wanted to respond to their enthusiasm and I believe that is something I have been looking for the last two years.”

So there’s a very subtle little jab at the Yankees there. Remember, at the end of last season, Ichiro cryptically told reporters that “obviously there’s a lot of things that go on that the fans and the media can’t see, that goes on inside (the clubhouse), but what I can say is that the experiences I had this year, those experiences are going to help me in the future.” Eh, whatever. Seems like Ichiro holds a bit of a grudge against the Yankees for whatever reason — dropping him into a fourth outfielder role last year? — but that’s in the past now. Onwards and upwards.

Yankees sign right-hander Kyle Davies to minor league deal

(Jamie Squire/Getty)
(Jamie Squire/Getty)

The Yankees have signed journeyman right-hander Kyle Davis to a minor league contract, the team announced. Davies did receive an invitation to Spring Training and will be the team’s 27th non-roster invitee. Fun fact: Davies gave up Alex Rodriguez‘s 500th career home run (video).

Davies, 31, has not pitched in MLB since 2011, when he had 6.75 ERA (4.39 FIP) in 61.1 innings for the Royals. He has a career 5.59 ERA (4.89 FIP) in 768 career big league innings with Kansas City and the Braves. Davies spent last season in Triple-A with the Indians, where he had a 4.11 ERA (3.98 FIP) in 124.2 innings. He was out of baseball entirely in 2012 before resurfacing with the Twins in 2013.

Obviously the Yankees need rotation help, but I think Davies was signed to be the veteran innings guy for Triple-A Scranton rather than be a serious MLB option. The Yankees figure to dip into their minor league pitching reserves quite a bit this summer and someone has to pick up those innings for the RailRiders, like Bruce Billings and Brian Gordon last year or Chris Bootcheck the year before. Davies is that guy in 2015.

Eddy: Yankees sign catcher Eddy Rodriguez to minor league contract

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

According to Matt Eddy, the Yankees have signed veteran catcher Eddy Rodriguez to a minor league contract. I assume he received an invitation to Spring Training. Teams always bring extra catchers to camp anyway simply because they need guys to catch all those early-spring bullpen sessions.

Rodriguez, 29, is a long-time minor league journeyman who has only played two games in the big leagues, both with the Padres in 2012. He hit a homer in his first career at-bat (video) and that is his only career MLB hit to date. Neat. Rodriguez appeared in 13 games for the Rays’ Triple-A affiliate last summer before being released in May.

As you might suspect, Rodriguez is not much of a hitter. He has a .235/.286/.386 (71 wRC+) batting line in 598 minor league games since being drafted in the 20th round by the Reds in 2006. The Nichols Law of Catcher Defense says he must be a good defender then, and he has in fact thrown out 33% of attempted base-stealers in his minor league career. If the Yankees targeted him, I’m guessing E-Rod can frame the hell outta some pitches too. The Yankees love their pitch-framers.

It’s a minor move, but signing Rodriguez is notable because he is basically Austin Romine‘s replacement. Romine is out of minor league options, meaning he can’t go to Triple-A without clearing waivers, so I’m guessing he’ll either be traded or lost on waivers at the end of Spring Training, assuming Brian McCann or John Ryan Murphy don’t get hurt. Rodriguez is now the odds on favorite to back up Gary Sanchez in Triple-A and be the emergency third catcher.

Braves claim Eury Perez off waivers from Yankees

(Jim Rogash/Getty)
(Jim Rogash/Getty)

The Braves have claimed outfielder Eury Perez off waivers from the Yankees, the team announced. The Yankees designated Perez for assignment last week to clear a 40-man roster spot for Stephen Drew.

Perez, 24, was claimed off waivers from the Nationals in September. He went 2-for-10 with a stolen base and three strikeouts for New York late last season and actually started two games in center field in the final series against the Red Sox, after the Yankees were eliminated from postseason and while Jacoby Ellsbury was nursing an ankle injury.

The Braves have added a ton of former Yankees this offseason, including outfielder Zoilo Almonte, infielder Corban Joseph, and lefties Francisco Rondon and Manny Banuelos. Zoilo might hit cleanup for them this year. Gordon Blakeley, a long-time scout with New York, left the Yankees for a job in Atlanta’s front office this winter. Maybe he’s behind all of this.

Yankees send Gonzalez Germen to Rangers for cash

(Dilip Vishwanat/Getty)
(Dilip Vishwanat/Getty)

The Yankees have traded right-hander Gonzalez Germen to the Rangers for cash, the club announced. He was designated for assignment last week when the team acquired Chris Martin for the Rockies. I’m guessing the amount of cash they’re getting from Texas is equal to whatever they sent to Colorado for Martin.

Germen, 27, was picked up from the Mets (for cash!) last month. The Yankees acquired him because they felt he was an upgrade over Preston Claiborne, who was designated for assignment and lost on waivers to the Marlins. They acquired Martin last week because they felt he was an upgrade over Germen. The circle of fringe reliever life.

Over the last two seasons, Germen had a 4.31 ERA (4.15 FIP) with good strikeout (8.91 K/9 and 22.7 K%) and meh walk (4.18 BB/9 and 10.6 BB%) rates in 64.2 relief innings for the Mets. As friend of RAB Eno Sarris likes to point out, Gonzalez’s changeup has the best swing-and-miss rate of any changeup in all of baseball last season (32.7%).

Germen joins fellow right-hander Dan Otero and Brian Schlitter as relievers who were both acquired and let go by the Yankees in one offseason in recent years. None of those three guys ever pitched in pinstripes. Not even in Spring Training. So long, Gonzalez.

Martino: Yankees avoid arbitration with Nathan Eovaldi and David Carpenter

Eovaldi. (Eliot J. Schechter/Getty)
Eovaldi. (Eliot J. Schechter/Getty)

Saturday, 4:33pm: The Yankees have also announced the Eovaldi deal, so that’s done too.

Friday, 7:08pm: The Yankees have announced Carpenter’s one-year, non-guaranteed contract. (Non-guaranteed contracts are standard for players in their pre-arbitration and arbitration years.) The team didn’t announce the Eovaldi deal, however. Could still be dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s.

6:47pm: Carpenter will actually make $1.275M this coming season, according to Bryan Hoch. Not a huge difference, but you know, accuracy and stuff.

6:22pm: The Yankees have avoided arbitration with both Nathan Eovaldi and David Carpenter, reports Andy Martino. Eovaldi gets $3.3M and Carpenter gets $1.3M, both on one-year contracts for 2015. MLBTR projected them to receive $3.1M and $1.1M, respectively.

Eovaldi, 24, came to New York in a five-player trade with the Marlins a few weeks ago. He was arbitration-eligible for the first time and will not qualify for free agency until after the 2017 season. Eovaldi took a career 4.07 ERA (3.70 FIP) in 460 innings into his first year of arbitration eligibility.

The 29-year-old Carpenter came over from the Braves in the Manny Banuelos trade last month. Like Eovaldi, he was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter and won’t become a free agent until after 2017. Carpenter has a 3.62 ERA (3.42 FIP) in 186.2 career innings as a middle reliever.

With Eovaldi and Carpenter now locked up, the Yankees have signed all of their arbitration-eligible players. The team had previously agreed to deals with Ivan Nova ($3.3M), Michael Pineda ($2.1M), and Esmil Rogers ($1.48M). Today was the deadline for the two sides to exchange salary figures, but it didn’t get that far. The Yankees have a history of signing their players before filing figures.