Yankees farmhand Manny Banuelos was ranked by Baseball America as the 29th prospect in all of baseball last winter. This year, however, he was limited to six starts and was shut down in early August due to an elbow injury. While the Yankees had hoped that the shutdown would fix all that ailed him, Brian Cashman just announced that Banuelos will have Tommy John surgery on Thursday.
That’ll put him in dry dock until 2014. Which, combined with the almost nothing he did this year means that he’s lost almost two full seasons. It’s probably worth asking someone with the Yankees why the problem wasn’t seen and the surgery wasn’t done earlier in an effort to limit the development time he’ll now lose.
Either way, it was hoped that Banuelos would be a key part of Yankees new relatively austere future. Hal Steinbrenner is on record as saying that he wants the team’s payroll under $189 million soon to avoid luxury tax charges. The only real way to make that happen, it seems, is for the pitching staff to be mostly young and cheap. That could still happen, but Banuelos won’t be part of that for some time.
Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.
The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.
Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.
The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.
The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.