Yankees acquire Tony Renda from Nationals for David Carpenter

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Earlier today the Yankees announced they have acquired minor league second baseman Tony Renda from the Nationals for David Carpenter. Carpenter was designated for assignment last week to clear a roster spot for Masahiro Tanaka. I believe today was the last day to trade him before he had to be placed on waivers.

Carpenter, 29, had a disappointing 4.82 ERA (5.31 FIP) in 18.2 innings with New York after coming over in the Manny Banuelos trade this offseason. Joe Girardi gave Carpenter plenty of opportunities to right the ship — he appeared in nine of the team’s last 20 games before getting cut — but it just didn’t happen. So it goes. Relievers, man.

On the bright side, the 24-year-old Renda is a really nice get for a player who had been designated for assignment. He is hitting .267/.333/.340 (95 wRC+) with more walks (8.3%) than strikeouts (6.6%) at Double-A this year after hitting .307/.381/.377 (119 wRC+) at High-A Last year. Renda was Washington’s second round pick in 2012.

Prior to the season Renda was ranked as 12th and 22nd best prospect in the Nationals’ system by Baseball America and MLB.com, respectively. MLB.com gave him a 50 hit tool and a 50 fielding tool on the 20-80 scouting scale while J.J. Cooper says it’s 45 hit and 50 fielding. Close enough. Here’s a piece of Renda’s free MLB.com scouting report:

Renda is an offensive-minded second baseman. His quiet swing helps him make consistent hard contact to all fields. He isn’t a speedster and has below-average power. He is a solid defender, capable of making the routine plays well … Renda isn’t flashy in any phase of the game, but he gets praise for his makeup and work ethic, which helps his tools play up.

Renda is listed at 5-foot-8 and 180 lbs., so this is the classic gritty grinder profile. I assume he’ll head to Double-A Trenton to join their prospect laden lineup and play second base everyday. Jose Rosario and Ali Castillo had been splitting time at second for the Thunder. I’m not sure where Renda would slot into my Top 30 Prospects list but it would almost certainly be the back half somewhere, 20-30 range or so.

It’s a shame things didn’t work out with Carpenter, especially since the Yankees could use an extra reliever right now with Andrew Miller landing on the 15-day DL yesterday. Carpenter’s probably going to go and dominate for the Nats now because that’s usually how these things work.

Yankees call up Chris Martin and Mason Williams from Triple-A Scranton

Williams. (Scott Iskowitz/Getty)
Williams. (Scott Iskowitz/Getty)

The Yankees have called up right-hander Chris Martin and outfielder Mason Williams from Triple-A Scranton, the team announced. They take the place of Andrew Miller and Jose Pirela on the 25-man roster. Miller was officially placed on the 15-day DL today and Pirela was optioned to Triple-A Scranton yesterday.

Martin, 29, had a 3.55 ERA (2.00 FIP) in 12.2 innings for the Yankees earlier this year before his elbow starting acting up. He landed on the DL then was optioned to Triple-A once healthy, where he made four appearances. The Yankees are looking for another righty reliever and Martin will get the first audition. Joe Girardi showed a lot of faith in him back in April and I suspect that will be case now, especially since the alternative is Esmil Rogers.

The real story here is Williams, who was a borderline non-prospect after last season because he wasn’t hitting and had makeup and work ethic concerns. The 23-year-old hit a weak .236/.298/.319 (74 wRC+) from 2013-14 at mostly Double-A Trenton while getting benched for lack of hustle numerous times. He reportedly came to camp with a better attitude this year and has hit .318/.397/.398 (132 wRC+) with more walks (11.8%) than strikeouts (9.8%) between Double-A and Triple-A.

Williams has never lacked physical ability — he’s got a Jacoby Ellsbury-esque profile as a left-handed hitter with contact and speed and great center field defense. Hopefully he plays regularly going forward, at least against righties. Brett Gardner figures to slide back over to left field because Williams is a better defender. He’s probably the best center field defender in the organization.

This has been a remarkable year for formerly troubled Yankees prospects. First Slade Heathcott got the call after battling injuries all those years and now Williams is up with the team after two terribly disappointing seasons. Ramon Flores, who’s been in the system for what feels like an eternity, also made his MLB debut in 2015. Heathcott and Flores had some success right away with the Yankees. Hopefully Williams does the same.

Yankees option Jose Pirela to Triple-A Scranton

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

Following this afternoon’s game, the Yankees optioned Jose Pirela to Triple-A Scranton, the team announced. With Pirela going down and Andrew Miller being placed on the 15-day DL, the team has to make two call-ups before Friday’s series opener against the Orioles.

My guess is Ramon Flores will be brought back come Friday. Miller’s injury allows the Yankees to bring him back without waiting the usual ten days. In fact, that was probably the plan on along. They knew Miller was going on the DL, so Flores goes “down” for a game, Pirela plays against the lefty Gio Gonzalez, then Flores comes back Friday. Though I guess there was still a chance Miller could have avoided the DL by time Flores was sent down.

The other roster spot figures to be a pitcher. My guess is Chris Martin, who has been pitching for Triple-A Scranton the last few weeks after coming back from his elbow injury. He was up with the Yankees earlier this season and seems like an obvious candidate. The team has no shortage of candidates though: Jose Ramirez, Danny Burawa, Nick Rumbelow … any of them could all get the call.

Pirela, 25, is 11-for-43 (.256) in limited time this season. Brendan Ryan returned from the 60-day DL on Wednesday and will take over as the backup infielder.

Rosenthal: Yankees to sign Sergio Santos to minor league deal

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees will sign right-hander Sergio Santos to a minor league contract. He’s heading to Double-A Trenton. Santos was up with the Dodgers earlier this year but elected free agency after being dropped from the 40-man roster. Fun fact: He struck out four batters in an inning not once, but twice this year.

Santos, 31, was really good with the White Sox from 2010-11 (3.29 ERA and 2.97 FIP in 115 innings), but he struggled from 2012-14 after getting traded to the Blue Jays (5.23 ERA and 4.00 FIP in 51.2 innings). Santos allowed seven runs in 13.1 innings with Los Angeles earlier this year, with 15 strikeouts and seven walks. He’s a classic low-to-mid-90s fastball/mid-80s slider guy.

Late last week Brian Cashman said the Yankees want to add a right-handed reliever — “I do need to find a right-handed arm for the bullpen here at some point,” said the GM — to their five-lefty bullpen. Santos may or may not be the answer. Probably not. A minor league contract is no risk — he’s not even in Triple-A! — and he’s worth the look though. But still, I encourage you to go forth with outrage.

Yankees designate David Carpenter for assignment

So long, Carp. (Presswire)
So long, Carp. (Presswire)

The Yankees have designated David Carpenter for assignment, the team announced. The move clears a spot on the 25-man roster for Masahiro Tanaka, who was activated off the 15-day DL and will start today’s series finale with the Mariners. The Yankees now have one open 40-man roster spot, but will need it when either Brendan Ryan or Ivan Nova eventually come off the 60-day DL.

Carpenter, 29, had a 4.82 ERA (5.31 FIP) in 18.2 innings and has been untrustworthy pretty much all season. His strikeout rate has also dropped from 25.9% last year with the Braves to 13.4% this year. Joe Girardi gave Carpenter plenty of chances to work through his problems recently — he’s appeared in nine of the last 17 games — but it’s not working. He gave up the go-ahead run in the sixth inning last night, which may have been the final straw.

The Yankees acquired Carpenter along with Chasen Shreve in the Manny Banuelos trade this past offseason. Carpenter is out of minor league options, which is why the Yankees couldn’t simply send him to Triple-A to work on things. They now have ten days to trade, release, or waive him, and my guess is they will be able to work out a minor trade with some team. Carpenter will probably go somewhere else and have a 2.00 ERA the rest of the year. Relievers are weird like that.

With Carpenter gone, the Yankees now have five lefties in the bullpen: Andrew Miller, Justin Wilson, Jacob Lindgren, Chris Capuano, and Shreve. Dellin Betances and Esmil Rogers are the only righties. That’s not a big deal though. All five of those lefties can get righties out, if not dominate them. The Yankees could have easily demoted Lindgren, but they opted for the best talent over maintain depth.

Yankees place Slade Heathcott on 15-day DL with quad strain, call up Ramon Flores

Slade. (Presswire)
Slade. (Presswire)

Earlier today, Joe Girardi told reporters in Oakland the Yankees will place Slade Heathcott on the 15-day DL with a Grade II quad strain. “I can tell you it’ll be longer than 15 days,” said Girardi when asked about a timetable. Ramon Flores has been called up from Triple-A Scranton to fill the roster spot.

Heathcott, 24, told reporters on Thursday that the quad has been bothering him on and off since the offseason. I guess the team sent him for tests at some point, which confirmed the Grade II strain. Chris Capuano suffered a Grade II quad strain in Spring Training and was out from early-March through mid-May, for what it’s worth. Heathcott’s not a starting pitcher who has to get stretched out though.

Girardi said that with both Heathcott and Jacoby Ellsbury (knee) on the DL, he’ll use Brett Gardner in center field more often going forward. That makes sense — Chris Young hasn’t hit for about a month now and Flores is best used in left field. Hopefully Flores gets a chance to play like Heathcott, even if he’s only the left-handed half of a left field platoon with Young.

Flores, 23, has hit .294/.389/.425 (140 wRC+) with four homers in 42 games with Triple-A Scranton this season. This will be his first taste of MLB. Donnie Collins says Flores was in the RailRiders’ lineup tonight before being scratched, so chances are he is not with the Yankees and is still traveling out west. I guess they have to play a man short tonight.

Sherman: Yankees to call-up Jacob Lindgren on Sunday

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

According to Joel Sherman, the Yankees are planning to call-up top relief prospect Jacob Lindgren on Sunday. Branden Pinder, who threw 48 pitches on Saturday, will go down. The Yankees will have to clear a 40-man roster for Lindgren but that won’t be tough. Brendan Ryan is a 60-day DL candidate.

Lindgren, 21, was the team’s top pick (55th overall) in last summer’s draft as a quick-moving reliever out of Mississippi State. He has a 1.23 ERA (1.92 FIP) in 22 innings for Triple-A Scranton this season with a 31.5 K% and a 70.8 GB%. Lindgren’s numbers as a pro are ridiculous: 39.3 K% and 75.6 GB% in 46.2 innings at five different levels. Total domination.

Over the last few weeks, the Yankees have had Lindgren work longer than usual outings with the RailRiders. He’s gotten at least five outs four times in his last five appearances and threw 30+ pitches twice. Lindgren is no lefty specialist — I could see Joe Girardi using him in that role initially just to break him in — but he’s not a long man either. He’s a reliever who can go two innings if necessary.

The Yankees will have four lefties in the bullpen following the addition of Lindgren, but that doesn’t really matter. Justin Wilson and especially Andrew Miller can get righties out as well lefties, and Chasen Shreve‘s split-changeup gives him an effective pitch against right-handed batters too. Lindgren also projects to get both righties and lefties out thanks to his filthy slider.

Non-Miller and Dellin Betances relievers had a 4.09 ERA this season coming into Saturday, and that’s only going up after this afternoon’s debacle. Lindgren might suck too! Relievers tend to do that. But the guys the Yankees had weren’t working and Lindgren might be a solution. It was time to try it. The Yankees need lots more help to right this ship, but Lindgren’s a start.