The Yankees have signed, or re-signed, the recently released lefty specialist Clay Rapada to a minor league deal the team announced yesterday.
Rapada was a big part of the Yankees pen last season as he had a 2.82 ERA, a 8.9 K/9, and a 4.0 BB/9 in 70 appearances last year. He was dominant against lefties holding them to a .186/.263/.255 batting line.
Rapada struggled with a shoulder problem in spring training though and with so many other injuries the Yankees were forced to cut him to make room on the 40-man roster for injury replacements like Lyle Overbay and Ben Francisco.
He’s not eligible to be recalled to the majors until May 3 because the Yankees released and then re-signed him. It’s a weird rule, but it’ll gives the Yankees and Rapada plenty of time so he doesn’t rush back from this shoulder injury. Shoulder injuries can be career threatening to pitchers after all.
It’ll be nice to have him back too. It’s only been a few outings, but Boone Logan looks lost out there. He dealt with an elbow issue during spring training which could be playing a role with his struggles. His velocity was fine in his first three outings, but topped out at 92.68 mph on Monday when he’s usually in the 94-95 mph range when successful.
Either way, this gives Logan some time to either show that he’s fine or that there is a real problem. Cesar Cabral will join the team, but not until June at the earliest so with Rapada back in the fold the Yankees could get some help before then if needed.
When the Yankees do call-up Rapada to the majors they will need to find him a spot on the 40-man roster. If Mark Teixeira is back by then they could designate Overbay for assignment but that seems a bit early to me. They might have to DFA Cody Eppley. There is still a little more than three weeks before we have to worry about this though. So we’ll see what happens.
• Derek Jeter (ankle) did some running yesterday. Not at 100 percent, but that’s still a good step forward. Wait until we see how he feels today before getting excited though. He’s still a few weeks away.
• The Yankees currently have one of the two or three best center fielders in baseball with Brett Gardner out there, but Brian Cashman reiterated that he will be putting one of the worst in the game out there when Curtis Granderson (broken forearm) returns from the DL. He’s about to begin taking batting practice in a pool.
• Brennan Boesch has been working out at first base. I doubt he’ll get a lot of playing time there, but it’s designed to give the team more options. He’s only ever played left or right field in his major league career.
• The Yankees will have $1,877,900 to spend on international free agents this summer (They spent $2.9 million last year). It’s the third lowest amount in baseball (since they finished third overall last year) with the Astros having $5 million to spend. Teams can begin signing IFA’s on July 2nd.