Yankees sign ‘contact-oriented’ outfielder to MiLB deal

mlb: atlanta braves at san francisco giants, luis gonzalez, yankees
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

While the New York Yankees wait on Yoshinobu Yamamoto to make his decision in free agency, they continue to hit on smaller moves. Last week, they traded Billy McKinney to the Pittsburgh Pirates and used the international pool money they acquired on a foreign catcher — Justin Capellan.

However, on Thursday afternoon, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic announced that the Yankees signed free agent outfielder Luis González to a minor-league deal with an invitation to major league spring training.

González won NL Rookie of the Month back in May 2022, but he underwent back surgery last March and missed most of the 2023 season. He played 31 minor-league games before the Giants released him in September, but he has showcased some potential and the Yankees want to give him a crack.

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What Does Luis González Bring to the Yankees?

The lefty bat has played 107 MLB games throughout his career, hitting .253/.328/.363, including four homers, 36 RBIs, and 10 stolen bases. González is considered a contact first hitter, featuring a 21.5% strikeout rate and 9.1% walk rate with a career 99 wRC+.

Over 27 Triple-A games last season, he hit .255/.355/.362, contributing 14 runs. You can see in his metrics that he lacks power, but González can make decent contact and may offer some athleticism defensively in the outfield.

Historically, González has played 751 innings in the OF with a .973 fielding percentage and -5 outs above average. Most of his action has come in right field, so the Yankees will likely stash him in Triple-A in case of emergency. It is possible he elects for free agency if he doesn’t make the active roster, which is certainly a longshot based on the other big name acquisitions the team has made this off-season.