Cotillo: Yankees sign Carlos Corporan to minor league deal

(Rick Yeatts/Getty)
(Rick Yeatts/Getty)

According to Chris Cotillo, the Yankees have signed catcher Carlos Corporan to a minor league contract. I assume he received an invitation to big league Spring Training. Corporan joins Eddy Rodriguez and Sebastian Valle as upper level backstops the Yankees have signed to minor league deals this winter.

Corporan, 32, is a career .218/.280/.342 (69 wRC+) hitter in 232 big league games with the Brewers, Astros, and Rangers. Like most catchers the Yankees have acquired in recent years, Corporan is a pitch-framing extraordinaire and has a reputation for being a strong defender behind the dish. That’s his thing. He’s a classic defense first backup.

In all likelihood Corporan will compete with Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine for the backup catcher’s job in Spring Training, and that could go in any direction. Sanchez seems like the favorite, but sending him down for a few weeks to work on his defense would be entirely justifiable, plus another 35 days or so in the minors delays his free agency by a year.

Romine is out of options and has been outrighted before, meaning if he doesn’t make the team, he’ll have to go through waivers and can elect free agency if he clears. I imagine he would do that and look for a better opportunity. I know I would. Realistically, the only way Romine stays with the Yankees beyond Opening Day is by making the team or getting hurt and landing on the DL.

It’s possible Sanchez could be the backup with Corporan in Triple-A. Or Corporan could be the backup with Sanchez in Triple-A. Or Romine could be the backup with Sanchez and Corporan in Triple-A. Lots of possibilities here. The Yankees have been emphasizing youth over the last 15 months, so I think Sanchez will get the backup job. Corporan is just insurance in case things don’t go as planned.

Angels claim Ronald Torreyes off waivers from Yankees

(Darin Wallentine/Getty)
(Darin Wallentine/Getty)

Earlier today, the Angels announced they have claimed infielder Ronald Torreyes off waivers from the Yankees. Torreyes was designated for assignment ten days ago when the Yankees claimed outfielder Lane Adams from the Royals, so one way or another his situation was going to be resolved today. His ten days in DFA limbo were up.

Torreyes, 23, came over from the Dodgers with lefty Tyler Olson in a very minor trade two weeks ago. He hit .262/.310/.348 (82 wRC+) in 464 plate appearances split between Double-A and Triple-A last season — Torreyes did appear in eight games with Los Angeles last September — but is a year removed from a .298/.345/.376 (90 wRC+) line in 519 Triple-A plate appearances.

I was irrationally excited about Torreyes because of his contact skills (8.2 K% in 2015), his versatility (can play all over the infield plus left field), and his high-energy style of play. He’s not a huge prospect or anything but Torreyes seemed like someone who had a chance to provide some utility off the bench, even as an up and down guy.

That said, Torreyes is now on his fifth organization since May 2015 (Astros, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Yankees, Angels) which suggests there’s really not much there to be excited about. I do think it’s kinda interesting he wound up with the Angels. Maybe the Yankees had longstanding interest in Torreyes that Billy Eppler took with him to Anaheim.

Yanks, Eovaldi agree to one-year deal to avoid arbitration


5:15pm: Jon Heyman says the contract is worth $5.6M, so they settled at the midpoint of the two filing numbers.

5:14pm: The Yankees have agreed to a non-guaranteed one-year contract with Nathan Eovaldi, avoiding arbitration, the team announced. Financial terms of the deal are unknown. I’m sure they’ll be reported soon enough. Eovaldi is under team control through 2017.

Prior to last Friday’s deadline, Eovaldi filed for a $6.3M salary while the Yankees countered with $4.9M. The midpoint is $5.6M, which is slightly under MLBTR’s $5.7M projection. I thought there was a chance the Yankees would look to sign Eovaldi long-term given the cost of pitching, but it didn’t happen.

Eovaldi, 25, had a 4.20 ERA (3.42 FIP) in 154.1 innings last season before suffering an elbow injury in mid-September. He was excellent for a few weeks in the middle of the summer, when he seemed to finally get comfortable with his new splitter. The elbow injury put a real damper on things.

The Yankees still have two arbitration-eligible players left unsigned: Aroldis Chapman ($13.1M vs. $9M) and Ivan Nova ($4.6M vs. $3.8M). Arbitration hearings will take place throughout February, though the two sides can still discuss a contract of any size before then.

Yankees, Gregorius avoid arbitration with $2.425M deal

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

Tuesday: The Yankees have officially announced the deal. It’s a non-guaranteed contract, which is standard for players during their years of team control. That just means they won’t have to pay him his full salary if they release him in Spring Training, but that ain’t happening.

Monday: The Yankees and Didi Gregorius have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year contract worth $2.425M, reports Jack Curry. Last Friday was the deadline for teams and eligible players to file salary figures. Didi filed for $2.525M while the team countered with $2.3M, so they settled a bit above the midpoint.

Gregorius, 25, hit .265/.318/.370 (89 wRC+) with nine home runs last season, his first with the Yankees. He started the season really poorly — those first few weeks were kinda ugly — but settled down and played very well from May through the end of the season. His defense led to +3.1 fWAR and +3.3 bWAR. Gregorius was arbitration-eligible for the first of four times as a Super Two. He can’t become a free agent until after 2019.

The Yankees still have three unsigned arbitration-eligible players: Aroldis Chapman ($13.1M vs. $9M), Nathan Eovaldi ($6.3M vs. $4.9M), and Ivan Nova ($4.6M vs $3.8). Arbitration hearings will take place throughout February, though the two sides are free to discuss a contract of any size in the meantime.

Yankees sign Pineda and Ackley; file arbitration figures with Chapman, Eovaldi, Gregorius, Nova

Didi is arbitration-eligible for the first time. (Patrick Smith/Getty)
Didi is arbitration-eligible for the first time. (Patrick Smith/Getty)

Original Post (12:00pm ET): Today is an important day on the offseason calendar. The deadline for teams and their arbitration-eligible players to file salary figures for the 2016 season is 1pm ET, which is a bit earlier than previous years, I believe. A total of 156 players are eligible for arbitration this winter, though many have agreed to a new contracts already.

The Yankees have six players up for arbitration this offseason, including some pretty important members of the team. Here are the six with their projected 2016 salaries, via MLBTR:

Dustin Ackley: $3.1M (second time through arbitration)
Aroldis Chapman: $12.9M (third)
Nathan Eovaldi: $5.7M (second)
Didi Gregorius: $2.1M (first of four as a Super Two)
Ivan Nova: $4.4M (third)
Michael Pineda: $4.6M (second)

The Yankees have not been to an arbitration hearing since beating Chien-Ming Wang during the 2007-08 offseason. Since then they’ve signed all of their eligible players prior to the filing deadline. I assume that will be the case again this year, though who knows. We’ll find out soon enough.

The two sides can still negotiate a contract of any size even after filing salary figures. They can hammer out a new deal at any point, even after a hearing if they choose. Hearings will take place throughout February and arbitration is an ugly process. The team details the player’s shortcomings in an effort to keep his salary down. Not pleasant for anyone involved. It’s no mystery why everyone involved tries to avoid a hearing.

We’ll keep track of the day’s Yankees-related arbitration news right here, assuming nothing crazy happens. Someone could sign a multi-year extension but history suggests the Yankees won’t do that. Check back for updates throughout the day. The deadline is 1pm ET, but news can and probably will trickle in throughout the afternoon.

Update (3:00pm ET): Yankees sign Pineda for $4.3M (Jeff Passan)

Pineda gets a nice $2.2M raise after pitching to a 4.37 ERA (3.34 FIP) last season. Yeah, he missed all that time following shoulder surgery from 2012-13, but he was an All-Star back in 2011 and that matters in arbitration. That said, a $4.3M salary for a starter going through arbitration for the second time is relatively small. All the lost time definitely cost Pineda some cash. He can’t become a free agent until after 2017.

Update (3:26pm ET): Yankees sign Ackley for $3.2M (Chad Jennings)

Ackley made $2.6M last season, so his raise wasn’t very big. He is in a bit of an interesting situation because the Mariners signed him to a five-year contract worth $7.5M out of the draft a few years back. Ackley earned $1.5M, $1.5M, and $1.7M in his three pre-arbitration years, not the league minimum, so his starting base salary in arbitration was higher than usual. He’s making more than he should be given his production. But still, $3.2M is peanuts in today’s MLB. Ackley is two years from free agency.

Update (3:28pm ET): Yankees will file with Chapman, Eovaldi, Gregorius, Nova (Jon Heyman)

In a bit of a surprise, the Yankees were unable to reach contract agreements with those four players prior to today’s filing deadline. No word on their filing figures yet, though those should come out soon enough. The two sides can still negotiate a contract of any size, remember. Today was not a hard deadline for completing a deal.

Update (4:58pm ET): Chapman filed for $13.1M, Yankees for $9M (Jon Heyman)

First thought: Chapman should probably take the Yankees to a hearing. He made $8.05M last season. Would the arbitration panel really side with the Yankees and award him a raise of less than $1M after he saved 33 games with a 1.63 ERA (1.94 FIP) and 116 strikeouts in 66.1 innings in 2015? Seems really unlikely. The other third year arbitration-eligible closers (Kenley Jansen, Drew Storen, Mark Melancon) all received raises of at least $2.5M on Friday. I guess the Yankees think Chapman’s earning potential will be dragged down by the domestic violence incident.

Update (5:01pm ET): Gregorius filed for $2.525M, Yankees for $2.3M (Jon Heyman)

A gap of $225,000 is nothing. I imagine the Yankees and Gregorius will be able to hammer out a deal soon enough, perhaps somewhere around the midpoint of the two filing figures ($2.42M). Then again, the Yankees could take the “file-and-trial” stance that is becoming popular. That is, once the salary figures are filed, the team stops negotiating and goes to a hearing. Hopefully that’s not the case.

Keep in mind with Gregorius, his 2016 salary will affect his 2017-19 salaries as well. There’s a carryover effect from year-to-year. It’s not so much about saving $225,000 next year. That $225,000 can potentially grow into a few million bucks during Didi’s four arbitration years.

Update (5:19pm ET): Eovaldi filed for $6.3M, Yankees for $4.9M (Jon Heyman)

The midpoint of the two filing figures is $5.6M, just south of MLBTR’s projection. Remember, the arbitration process is very antiquated. If they do go to a hearing, Eovaldi’s representatives will surely emphasize his 14-3 record in 2015, and the fact he led the league in winning percentage (.824). The system rewards wins and winning percentage, the stuff we know doesn’t tell us a whole lot about the pitcher’s performance.

Update (6:58pm ET): Nova filed for $4.6M, Yankees for $3.8M (Jeff Passan)

Nova, who made $3.3M last summer, filed a salary number just north of MLBTR’s projection. The Yankees are a little under that, and really, an $800,000 gap is not huge. The team seems to offering a token “you picked up another year of service time, congrats” raise after Nova’s poor 2015 season. Even considering MLBTR’s projection, I can understand why the Yankees filed at $3.8M.

Yankees claim outfielder Lane Adams from Royals


The Yankees have claimed outfielder Lane Adams off waivers from the Royals, the team announced. He was designated for assignment a few days ago when Kansas City re-signed Alex Gordon. The Yankees designated infielder Ronald Torreyes for assignment in a corresponding move. The 40-man roster remains full.

Adams, 26, is a right-handed hitter who hit .275/.342/.436 (115 wRC+) with 16 home runs and 31 steals in 140 games split between Double-A and Triple-A last year. He appeared in six big league games in 2014. Baseball America (subs. req’d) ranked Adams as the 15th best prospect in Kansas City’s system prior to 2015. Here’s a snippet of their scouting report:

He is a plus-plus runner who is a plus defender in center field. He’s not a good fit in right field because of his fringe-average arm. Offensively, Adams has some strength and shows pull power, but he projects as an average hitter with the ability to hit 8-10 home runs and plenty of doubles. He most likely winds up as a fourth outfielder.

The Yankees have plenty of left-handed hitting outfielders on the 40-man roster (Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams, Ben Gamel) so Adams will help balance things out a bit. The team has a bench spot open, but with Aaron Hicks set to be the fourth outfielder and Dustin Ackley the fifth outfielder, it’s tough to see Adams making the Opening Day roster.

Torreyes, 23, was acquired from the Dodgers earlier this week in a minor trade. Just yesterday I wrote I was irrationally excited about the pickup because his high energy/high contact/versatile profile looked like a nice fit for the bench. Obviously the Yankees didn’t agree. So it goes. Maybe he’ll clear waivers and stick with the organization.

Heyman: Yankees sign Anthony Swarzak to minor league deal

(Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty)
(Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty)

It appears the Yankees have their Triple-A innings guy. The team has signed right-hander Anthony Swarzak to a minor league contract, reports Jon Heyman. The deal will pay him $750,000 at the big league level. Safe to assume Swarzak received an invitation to big league Spring Training.

Swarzak, 30, made the Indians’ Opening Day roster last year, but was sent to Triple-A after allowing nine runs (five earned) in 13.1 innings. He made six relief appearances in the minors before latching on with the Doosan Bears in Korea. Swarzak had a 5.56 ERA in 92.1 innings for Doosan last summer. He worked mostly as a starter.

In 453 career innings spread across 32 starts and 159 relief appearances, Swarzak has a 4.45 ERA (4.18 FIP) at the MLB level, mostly with the Twins. That’s broken down into a 5.87 ERA (4.81 FIP) as a starter and a 3.64 ERA (3.81 FIP) as a reliever. Swarzak a low-to-mid-90s fastball/slider guy at this point. He doesn’t throw his curveball or changeup much out of the bullpen.

There are three open bullpen spots at the moment, so I wouldn’t rule Swarzak out as a candidate for the big league roster. I think it’s more likely he’ll be the designated Triple-A innings guy though. Last year it was Kyle Davies, the year before it was Bruce Billings, and the year before that it was Chris Bootcheck. Teams always need a veteran guy to soak up some innings in Triple-A.