New York Yankees: Yankees sign Velazquez, teams calling on Higashioka, and more

New York Yankees, Kyle Higashioka

The New York Yankees have added infield depth by signing Andrew Velazquez to a Minor League deal. Velazquez is a Bronx, New York native that attended Fordham Prep. High School.  The MLB Network’s John Heyman reported the news. It’s not the infield signing that the Yankee fans were hoping for, but they are still negotiating a deal with DJ LeMahieu.

The Velazquez deal was a bit surprising because the Yankees have made it a priority to sign DJ LeMahieu and have pretty much put everything else on hold until they know the outcome of that signing. It is projected that the Yankees may have to pay DJ as much as $25 million to stay in pinstripes. With that in mind, that leaves only $5 to $10 million for the Yankees to spend on all their other needs, if they are to stay below that $210 million luxury tax threshold.

Velazquez spent the 2020 season with the Baltimore Orioles. He appeared in 40 games last season. General manager Brian Cashman must see something in the 26 year old as he hit only .159 with the Orioles. His batting average over four years is just .156 for the Rays, Indians, and Baltimore.  If called up he would give manager Boone a lefty option in the lineup, as he is a switch hitter.  It’s hard to measure his value as between the three teams, he has played in only 68 games as shortstop, second baseman and playing in the outfield.

Teams trying to pry Kyle Higashioka away from the Yankees

Brian Cashman while talking on Wednesday about the Yankee catching situation, he indicated that he has received several calls about if Kyle Higashioka would be available this offseason. Cashman put an immediate damper on those requests, saying that Higashioka is going nowhere.

Last season “Higgy” commanded a more important role with the New York Yankees. He become ace Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher and later in the season and postseason caught in as many games as Gary Sanchez, Sanchez only caught in two of the post season games.

Cashman also addressed the Sanchez situation, saying that Sanchez will be the starting catcher for the Yankees next season. The team gave him a tendered contract for about $5 million for the year. But Cashman did say that Kyle will be competing for starts as well.

Cashman looks to improve the bullpen

In a conversation yesterday, New York Yankee general manager Brian Cashman stated that he is looking to improve the bullpen, after losing Tommy Kahnle to Tommy John surgery. He will miss the entire 2021 season during rehab.  Cash made the comment while talking about the signing of Andrew Velazquez an infielder.

Cashman has made some moves already by signing Matt Bowman, Nestor Cortes Jr., and Adam Warren to beef up the bullpen. Bowman was signed to a Minor League contract.

Negro Leagues advanced to Major League status

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that the Negro Leagues have been promoted to Major League status. Manfred described the move as “correcting a longtime oversight in the game’s history.”

MLB Communications

Commissioner Manfred announced today that

is officially elevating the Negro Leagues to “Major League” status. Culminating the centennial celebration of the founding of the Negro Leagues, MLB is proud to highlight the contributions of the pioneers who played from 1920-1948.

The move puts Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Buck Leonard, Turkey Stearnes, Oscar Charleston, Jackie Robinson, and about 3,400 other Negro players in the same league as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and other great baseball players.