The New York Yankees have been crowing about how frugal they are lately. Seriously.
First, general manager Brian Cashman talked about how his team’s luxury tax tab was reduced to $18 million this season. “Atta baby. And right now we’re in the $170s,” he said, referring to a 2011 salary number that could actually fall beneath the luxury tax threshold. Not exactly a bunch of penny pinchers, you say? But wait, there’s more.
Also on Tuesday, the Bombers went out and signed a player off of Hank Steinbrenner’s youth team.
The New York Yankees have signed 19-year-old Leonel Vinas to a minor league contract. The right-hander from Long Island was the ace of Hank’s Yanks, a team sponsored by Steinbrenner, co-chairman of the Yankees.
Vinas, who moved to Long Island from the Dominican Republic at age 11, was 12-0 with a 1.12 ERA and 168 strikeouts in 84 innings for “Hank’s Yanks,” according to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com.
Pretty cool story, and Vinas called the chance to play in the Yankee organization a dream come true. He’ll report to Tampa in two weeks to begin his professional career, and will probably start in Rookie ball as a reliever.
Cashman, for his part, made it clear that the signing was not a gimmick move. “This is real,” he told Hoch. “He’s got talent. We’re looking forward to seeing where the talent takes him.”
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Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.