Yankees send prospects packing, eye postseason push

Yankees turn out the contract with Bubba Thompson on January 24, 2024.
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On Wednesday, the New York Yankees faced significant roster changes as outfielder Bubba Thompson was claimed off waivers by the Minnesota Twins, marking the outfielder’s fourth team transition this offseason.

What happened?

The move came after Thompson, aged 25, was designated for assignment on Friday to accommodate right-hander Luke Weaver on the Yankees’ roster. The Yankees had initially claimed Thompson off waivers from Cincinnati on January 4, who, in turn, had been claimed on October 26 from the Kansas City Royals. The Royals, in a prior transaction, had acquired him from the Texas Rangers on August 13.

Thompson’s 2023 performance with the Texas Rangers featured a .170 batting average (9-for-53) with no home runs, four RBIs, and four stolen bases in 37 games.

Jeter Down was put on waivers

Additionally, infielder Jeter Downs and outfielder Oscar González, both part of the Yankees’ roster, were assigned outright to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after passing through waivers.

Jeter Downs, a 25-year-old shortstop named after former Yankees captain Derek Jeter, was designated for assignment one month after being claimed off waivers from the Washington Nationals. This move was necessitated by the Yankees’ acquisition of infielder/outfielder Diego Castillo from the New York Mets.

Downs, initially traded from the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Boston Red Sox as part of the Mookie Betts deal in 2020, made his major league debut with Boston in 2022. His performance included a .154 batting average (6-for-39) with one home run and four RBIs. The Nationals claimed him off waivers on December 22. In limited appearances this year, Downs managed a 2-for-5 record with one RBI and two stolen bases. Additionally, he contributed significantly in Triple-A Rochester, finishing the season with a .236 average, three home runs, 18 RBIs, and 11 stolen bases.

Oscar González, the 25-year-old outfielder who delivered a walk-off single against the Yankees in Game 3 of the 2022 AL Division Series, was acquired by the Yankees from the Cleveland Guardians on December 1. Displaying a right-handed hitting style, González recorded a .214 batting average with two home runs and 12 RBIs in 54 games last season. His designation for assignment on January 17 was made to accommodate the arrival of right-hander Marcus Stroman to the roster.

In summary, the New York Yankees’ recent roster moves, including the claim of Bubba Thompson by the Minnesota Twins and the reassignments of Jeter Downs and Oscar González, highlight the dynamic nature of player transactions and adjustments during the MLB offseason. The Yankees, a central figure in these developments, continue to navigate the intricacies of roster optimization and acquisitions as they prepare for the upcoming season.

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