Yankees ink 2 players to minor league deals in free agency

jake Bauers, yankees
Cincinnati Reds first baseman Jake Bauers (NRI) (26) hits a single during a spring training game against the Chicago Cubs, Monday, March 21, 2022, at Sloan Park in Mesa, Ariz. Cincinnati Reds At Chicago Cubs March 21 0052

The New York Yankees continue to fill out the minor leagues with talent whilst they await big decisions with guys like Carlos Rodón. Today the Yanks inked minor league contracts with Jake Bauers and former Reds pitcher Art Warren. Bauers re-signed with the organization after the Yankees acquired him from the Reds last year. As for Warren, his deal has a bit more to it than a simple sign-and-deploy move.

Depth isn’t a bad thing, and Bauers fits in nicely for the Yankees:

Though it isn’t usually seen huge move to add depth, it never hurts to fill out the farm in the offseason. Adding guys that will be able to hold the lineup and rotation together and a hopeful bounce-back candidate in Warren is what keeps the minor leagues together. The Yankees still have their sights set on getting big-name guys like Rodón and others via trade. However, these moves are smart moves on the organization’s behalf. 

Bauers plays a meh first base defensively, but his great eye and ability to hit for decent power bring his value up.

The former Guardians’ first baseman and outfielder spent the second half of the 2022 season with the SWB RailRiders, slashing .226/.352/.406 with five homers, 20 BB, and 14 runs scored over 32 games. If the Yankees are able to build out their major league roster the way they envision it, I don’t see Bauers factoring in. Though, you never know how injuries and roster moves could impact the team as the season goes on. 

Art Warren will have his chance come 2024:

The Art Warren deal is a much more interesting move, as he had UCL surgery in September and won’t be able to pitch in ‘23. Therefore, the Yanks signed him to a two-year minor-league deal to spice things up and added an invite to Spring Training in 2024. His ‘22 campaign was a rough one, as it was clear that his injury was taking a toll on his performance.

Warren’s average fastball sat at 95.3 mph with Cincinnati in 2021 but dipped to 93.6 mph in 2022, and his overall results in a healthy 2021 showing were outstanding. He posted a 41.5% K rate in his limited time at the majors, and his 19.2% Swinging Strike % was 5th best in the majors. When we get to actually see Art Warren, he’ll hopefully be back to his healthy best. 

These two minor-league moves also allow the Yanks to potentially trade away some other guys in the farm, and I can guarantee there will be a multitude more of minor league signings.

The Yanks still have a lot of work to do with their major league roster, but the moves remain to be seen. Bringing back Judge and Rizzo whilst adding Tommy Kahnle back into the bullpen are great moves, yet there’s still more left to be desired. These next few weeks should tamper down a bit with it being the holiday season, so hopefully, we get some clarity here in the next few days. Regardless, Bauers and Warren (in ‘24) will help out in AAA for the time being.