Yankees make free agent signing official, DFA outfielder to clear space on the 40-man

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays
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With the Yankees looking to make the signing of Luke Weaver official, they’ve DFA’d outfielder Bubba Thompson to clear out a spot on their 40-man roster. The 30-year-old right-hander had agreed to a one-year deal with the New York Yankees earlier last week, with a $2 million base salary with incentives that could increase the amount earned. He also has a club option for the 2025 season in case he were to perform well, and he’s another addition to the team’s pitching staff that could both start or come out of the bullpen based on the team’s needs.

Acquired off of waivers last September, he would post a 3.38 ERA in three starts with the Bronx Bombers, displaying a new cutter that could be the secret to him improving upon his ugly 6.40 ERA last season.

Yankees Make Signing Official With DFA of Bubba Thompson

mlb: arizona diamondbacks at new york yankees, luke weaver
Sep 22, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Luke Weaver (30) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Luke Weaver was a name that the Yankees were rumored to bring back a few times before his signing, as the team liked what he brought to the table and believed that they could get more out of his profile. The 30-year-old was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals before being traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the blockbuster that sent future Hall of Fame first baseman Paul Goldschmidt to one of baseball’s most iconic franchises. While impressive in 2019, he has yet to recapture the magic of that season due to injuries and a lack of consistency on the mound.

Across 574.1 innings pitched in his MLB career, Luke Weaver has a 5.14 ERA and 4.31 FIP, striking out 571 batters but allowing a 1.41 HR/9. The Yankees are hoping that the addition of a cutter could allow Weaver to prevent damage contact more frequently, as home runs and barrels have proved to be an issue for the right-hander throughout his career. If the Yankees are going to get upside from this signing they’ll have to trust that their pitching coaches can identify and tweak the deficiencies in his game, but he has value in a swingman role.

With the injuries the Yankees had in their rotation last year, having Luke Weaver there provides much-needed insurance in the situation where someone goes down with an injury. He can also provide valuable innings out of the bullpen as a multi-inning relief arm who can either bridge the gap to the backend of their bullpen or mop up innings when the Yankees are up or down by a lot of runs and the game is seemingly out of hand.

MLB: Texas Rangers at Detroit Tigers
May 29, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Texas Rangers left fielder Bubba Thompson (8) bunts in the fifth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

As the corresponding move for Luke Weaver, the Yankees have designated outfielder Bubba Thompson for assignment, and the speedy outfielder will find himself on the waiver wire once again. The Yankees picked him up from the Reds in early January but it seems he was just fodder for the 40-man as they awaited potential moves in free agency. An incredibly gifted athlete, Thompson ranks in the 100th Percentile in Sprint Speed and is a burner on the basepaths, but lacks the offensive skillset to hold an MLB roster spot.

Given their depth in the outfield, it’s understandable why they chose to remove him from the 40-man instead of other options, especially after they DFA’d Jeter Downs earlier this afternoon. The Yankees will remain focused on the bullpen as they continue to make moves and add to their pitching staff.