Diego Castillo acquisition forces Yankees to designate Jeter Downs

Yankees sign Diego Castillo

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The tenure of shortstop Jeter Downs with the New York Yankees may come to an end before it even takes off, as he has been designated for assignment to make room for infielder/outfielder Diego Castillo. Downs, a 25-year-old shortstop, was claimed off waivers from the Washington Nationals by the Yankees just a month ago.

On Friday, the Yankees decided to designate Downs for assignment in order to clear roster space for Diego Castillo, who they claimed off waivers from the New York Mets. The move puts Downs in a precarious position, and the Yankees now have seven days to either trade him or place him on waivers.

Jeter Downs, named after the legendary Yankees captain Derek Jeter, was the 32nd overall pick by Cincinnati in the 2017 amateur draft. His journey to the Yankees included a trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Boston Red Sox as part of the Mookie Betts deal in 2020. Downs made his MLB debut with Boston in 2022, where he struggled with a batting average of .154 (6 for 39), hitting one home run and driving in four runs. He was claimed off waivers by the Nationals on December 22, and in the current year, he went 5 for 2 with one RBI and two stolen bases. His Triple-A performance included a .236 batting average, three home runs, 18 RBIs, and 11 stolen bases.

Before his MLB debut on June 22, 2022, Downs received a congratulatory tweet from Derek Jeter, whom he had met a few years prior. Jeter’s message read, “Congratulations and good luck… unless you’re playing against the Yankees.”

Diego Castillo’s arrival in the Yankees’ roster is the reason for Downs’ departure. Castillo, a versatile player who can handle both infield and outfield positions, was designated for assignment by the Arizona Diamondbacks on December 22 to make room for outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. The Mets claimed Castillo off waivers on January 5, but he was subsequently designated for assignment a week later when the Mets needed space for left-hander Sean Manaea.

The 26-year-old Castillo made his MLB debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2022, where he hit .206 with 11 home runs and 19 RBIs in 96 games. He was traded to Arizona in December 2022 and appeared in one MLB game last year as a pinch hitter on July 31. In Triple-A Reno, Castillo showcased his offensive prowess with a .313 batting average, 33 doubles, three home runs, 72 RBIs, and 13 stolen bases in 124 games.

As the Yankees undergo roster adjustments, Downs’ future with the team hangs in the balance, awaiting either a trade or a potential claim on waivers within the next seven days. Meanwhile, Diego Castillo brings his versatility and offensive capabilities to bolster the Yankees’ roster for the upcoming season.

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