Friday was a very busy day for the Yankees. In addition to all the arbitration filing deadline activity, they also agreed to a two-year contract with DJ LeMahieu, and announced several smaller transactions as well. Here is a recap of the day’s moves:
- Officially announced three-year deal with LHP Zach Britton.
- RHP A.J. Cole claimed off waivers by the Indians.
- IF Hanser Alberto claimed off waivers by the Orioles.
- Signed RHP Drew Hutchison to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training.
- Signed OF Matt Lipka to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training.
The Yankees haven’t announced the LeMahieu signing yet. That is still pending a physical and it’ll be a few days. The Britton deal is technically a three-year contract, but, functionally, it is a two-year deal with a two-year club option and a one-year player option. Two years vs. three years doesn’t change anything with regards to the luxury tax. Britton still counts as $13M against the luxury tax payroll annually.
Cole, 27, was designated for assignment last week to clear 40-man roster space for Troy Tulowitzki. I thought the Yankees might be able to trade him for cash or a player to be named later, but no luck. They lost him on waivers to the Indians for nothing. Oh well. Cole had a 4.26 ERA (4.92 FIP) with 29.2% strikeouts in 38 innings for New York last season. He came over in a cash trade with the Nationals and had a few good weeks before falling apart.
Alberto was designated for assignment to clear a 40-man roster spot for Britton, then was claimed by the Orioles a few hours later. I thought it was kinda weird the Yankees would unload infield depth given Troy Tulowitzki’s general fragility, then a few hours later the LeMahieu news broke, and it all made sense. The Yankees claimed Alberto from the Rangers a few weeks ago. He’s a great defender but not much of a hitter. Now he’s an Oriole.
Hutchison, 28, started Opening Day for the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium only four years ago, but injuries and ineffectiveness have dogged him since. He had a 6.75 ERA (6.42 FIP) in 42.2 innings with the Rangers and Phillies last season, and a 2.14 ERA (3.29 FIP) in 42 Triple-A innings. For what it’s worth (nothing), I signed Hutchison to be Triple-A Scranton’s veteran innings guy as part of my 2018-19 Offseason Plan. Now the Yankees have done the same.
The 26-year-old Lipka is a former high draft pick (35th overall in 2010) who stalled out with the Braves. He spent last season in Double-A with the Giants and hit .240/.329/.352 (91 wRC+) with four homers and 21 steals. Lipka has a little Triple-A time and I imagine he’ll spend the coming season as the roving Double-A and Triple-A depth outfielder. He’s not a prospect anymore. Just a roster filler signing.
Hutchison and Lipka join catcher Ryan Lavarnway, infielder Gio Urshela, lefty Rex Brothers, lefty Danny Coulombe, and outfielder Billy Burns as minor league contract depth pickups this winter. You never know with these things, but that might be it for the non-roster signings. If nothing else, the Yankees have addressed all Triple-A Scranton’s roster needs.