Yankees announce signing of former All-Star, DFA outfielder to clear 40-man space

marcus stroman, yankees
May 29, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (0) reacts as after forcing Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe (not pictured) to hit into a double play during the seventh inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

While the Yankees reportedly signed right-handed pitcher Marcus Stroman to a two-year $37 million deal last week, the deal had yet to be formally announced by the team. This was due to issues with roster space, as the team had a full 40-man roster, and would need to find a way to clear out space before the announcement. With their addition of Marcus Stroman, the team has designated outfielder Oscar Gonzalez for assignment, placing him on waivers. The Yankees claimed him off of waivers earlier this winter, and now they’ll see if another team claims him.

Stroman, who posted a 3.95 ERA this past season, is expected to slot into the middle of the Yankees’ rotation, as he looks to contribute to a team that’s in a contention window.

Yankees Officially Sign Marcus Stroman, Place Oscar Gonzalez on Waivers

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs
Jul 31, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (0) pitches during the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

When the Yankees missed out on Japanese superstar Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the team had to pivot and find another option on the free agent or trade market. It seemed as if they weren’t interested in paying the price financially or in prospect capital to land one of the top starters, so they pivoted to Marcus Stroman. The right-hander was previously with the Chicago Cubs, New York Mets, and Toronto Blue Jays, and he opted out of his third year with the Chicago Cubs to enter free agency once again.

In his two years with the Cubs, the 32-year-old veteran posted a 3.73 ERA and made 50 starts, tacking on two late-season appearances out of the bullpen in 2023 while he was coming back from hip issues. He’s garnered a reputation for being an outspoken and provocative athlete online, not shying away from stating his opinions no matter how controversial they are. It’s gotten him into some trouble and has given him a bad reputation among some fans, and the Yankees were one of his most frequent targets for criticism.

It seems as if he and Brian Cashman have smoothed out some of those issues however, while the two sides have exchanged some scathing public comments in the past, they met in Tampa to iron things out. The Yankees and Cashman walked away willing to make an offer, and it seems as if Marcus Stroman has long desired the chance to play in front of the fans in the Bronx, this time to applause and cheers.

A seemingly unlikely union, the groundball-heavy pitcher does profile well for what the Yankees like, as he has an excellent sinker, slider, and cutter that should allow for him to prevent damage contact. He had the second-lowest HR/9 rate (0.59) among pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched, and the Yankees hope they can get Stroman to pitch closer to where he was in the first half where he was named to his second All-Star team.

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Cleveland Guardians right fielder Oscar Gonzalez (39) watches his shot down the first baseline during the fourth inning of Game 4 of an American League Division baseball series against the New York Yankees at Progressive Field, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022, in Cleveland, Ohio. Alds Game 4 20

The Yankees had to DFA Oscar Gonzalez as a result, and the outfielder didn’t play a single game for the Bronx Bombers as he was acquired this past winter off of waivers. There is a chance he passes through waivers and remains in the organization, especially given how brutal he was this past season. In his age-25 season, he posted a 49 wRC+ and -1.5 fWAR in 54 games, struggling to contribute much as a poor defensive outfielder who couldn’t get the bat going.

Gonzalez was excellent in his rookie season, as in 2022 the right-handed outfielder posted a 125 wRC+ and slugged .461, showing off an excellent all-round hitting ability that came from his aggressive approach at the plate. The Yankees still have to clear up a 40-man roster spot for Luke Weaver, who was signed last week as well and has yet to be formally announced by the Yankees.