The New York Yankees have plenty of infielders heading into the 2023 season, especially with Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Josh Donaldson still on the roster.
Donaldson is set to earn $21 million next season, but the Yankees have been looking to offload his contract and save a bit to reallocate. Kiner-Falefa signed a new one-year deal worth $6 million, but he’s also been rumored to be on the trade block.
We haven’t even mentioned the rumors regarding Gleyber Torres, who expects to stick around for the majority of 2023. He could be moved at the trade deadline next summer, but the Yankees are playing it safe with DJ LeMahieu’s toe injury that is progressing well.
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The Yankees continue to add depth pieces:
Brian Cashman signed two versatile infielders this week. The Yankees locked in Wilmer Difo on a minor-league contract, being invited to the team’s major league spring training to compete for a spot on the roster.
At 30 years old, Difo has experience at second base and shortstop. He made three appearances for Arizona in 2022 but played 116 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates back in 2021. He hit .269 with a 33% on-base rate, four homers, and 24 RBIs. Defensively, he’s played nearly every position, even spending 116 total earnings in the outfield.
The Yankees likely value Difo’s sprint speed, which ranks in the 87th percentile. In addition, he is a switch hitter, which brings a bit more value as a supplementary option.
On the other hand, the Bombers also signed Jaime Westbrook to a minor-league deal. At 27 years old, Westbrook played 120 games for the Detroit Tigers’ Triple-A squad last season. He hit .248 with a 35% on-base rate, 11 homers, and 48 RBIs.
In 2021, though, he hit .287 with a 35% on-base rate, 11 homers, and 47 RBIs, almost identical to his 2022 metrics. The biggest difference, he recorded a 122 wRC+ in 2021 compared to a 97 last season.
Defensively, he’s capable of playing second base, third base, right field, and left field. The Yankees are simply looking for utility pieces you can fill a specific role if need be, but I wouldn’t expect either Difo or Westbrook to make a significant impact or even feature for the Yankees in 2023.