Yankees bring back speedy outfielder on MiLB free agent deal

MLB: New York Yankees at Miami Marlins
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As the Yankees continue to stock up on upper-level Minor League depth, they bring in a speedy outfielder with familiarity in the Bronx. Greg Allen, who is now on his third stint with the team, has had a nice string of success in his short spurts with the Yankees, slashing .250/.387/.450 for a 130 OPS+ in 37 games. This was reported first by Robert Murray, and Allen should provide some speed and defense in case of an injury to an outfielder on the roster.

Speed is Greg Allen’s calling card, as his athleticism and switch-hitting abilities have always allowed him to remain on the radars of various teams. It’s a Minor League deal, which means the Yankees won’t have to clear space on their 40-man roster for the base-stealing savant.

Yankees Bolster Outfield Depth With Familiar Outfielder

greg allen, yankees
May 21, 2023; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; New York Yankees pinch runner Greg Allen (30) scores on a double by shortstop Anthony Volpe (not pictured) in the seventh inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Greg Allen spent last season with three different organizations, starting with the Boston Red Sox where he had success in Triple-A. He was then acquired in a trade with the Yankees, who brought him in to replace the struggling Aaron Hicks and provide the team with some speed and defense. An injury to Allen would allow the Yankees to activate him off of the injured list in August, but with the wave of young prospects coming up, he was designated for assignment.

The Milwaukee Brewers would then scoop up Greg Allen on a Minor League deal as well but released him midway through September as he struggled mightily at the plate in his limited sample size in Triple-A. He’s bounced around the league, being drafted by the Cleveland Guardians back in 2014 and being traded to the San Diego Padres during the COVID-shortened 2020 season.

He would initially find himself on the Yankees in 2021 when he was traded for James Pazos, and after tearing up Scranton with a 152 wRC+ and 26 steals in 73 games, would earn a promotion with the Major League team. Greg Allen would endear himself to fans due to an incredible 142 wRC+ and big hits when the Yankees were decimated by COVID and injuries, although the fun would fizzle out and he’d wind up with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2022.

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at New York Yankees
Sep 20, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder Greg Allen (24) follows through on an RBI sacrifice fly against the New York Yankees during the fourth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Allen hasn’t had much MLB success outside of with the Yankees, who he has a 130 OPS+ and 0.8 fWAR with across 37 games. Whether it’s the allure of the pinstripes or just a coincidence, his best numbers have always come with playing in the Bronx, and perhaps he can tap into some of that magic again if the Yankees need him in a pinch. His versatility across all three outfield spots coupled with his speed make him a desirable depth piece in any organization.

The bat isn’t supposed to be good, he’s projected for a 94 wRC+ by ZiPS and 82 wRC+ by Steamer, but the Yankees aren’t expected to rely on him much unless something were to go horribly wrong injury-wise. Everson Pereira is still on the team’s 40-man roster and could come up if there were an injury, and Trent Grisham is expected to be their fourth outfielder for the 2024 season.

It’s a depth signing that’s worth the price because of Greg Allen’s versatility and speed, and he’s a familiar face with whom the Yankees have a lot of knowledge of.