Yankees sign free agent infield utility piece to support depth

mlb: san diego padres at oakland athletics, kevin smith, yankees
D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

With the Yankees looking to shore up their position player depth, they added an infielder who’s bounced around the Major League and Minor League levels. Kevin Smith is a defensively-minded infielder who has versatility around the diamond. His offensive numbers as a big leaguer have been underwhelming, striking out 31.2% of the time with a 44 wRC+ across 333 Plate Appearances with the Oakland Athletics and Toronto Blue Jays.

He announced on his Twitter page earlier today that he’ll bolster the Yankees’ infield depth and provide a multi-use option in case of injury.

Yankees Bolster Infield Depth

With the New York Yankees looking to add to their infield depth, they pluck the New York native Kevin Smith from free agency. He wasn’t tendered a contract by the Athletics after an ugly 2023 season where he posted negative WAR and struggled at the plate.

This differed starkly from his season at Triple-A, where he put up a 137 wRC+ with 16 HRs, and perhaps the Yankees believe they can get him to tap into that power at the Major League level. It’s hard to look too much into a depth move like this one since these kinds of signings don’t tend to result in impact big leaguers, but it doesn’t hurt to have depth.

After adding Jeter Downs earlier this winter, the Yankees have some added Triple-A depth in their infield and hope that it can stabilize them, knowing how questionable their depth is at 3B. We also know that they may end up trading an infielder like Oswald Peraza to perhaps land impact pitching for a rotation that’s been depleted following multiple trades for outfielders.

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Oct 1, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; New York Yankees second baseman Oswald Peraza (91) bats against the Kansas City Royals during the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees have engaged on multiple fronts with teams such as the Miami Marlins, who could use a middle infielder. While Oswald Peraza has lost value from his days as a top-100 prospect, his glove and speed are certainly good enough to entice a team that needs young and athletic infield depth.

In fact, another team in need of infield help could be the San Francisco Giants, who have a plethora of starters at the Triple-A level. It’s hard to assume that the Yankees are going to trade a player, but their moves to acquire MLB-ready infield depth could hint at a potential deal down the road.

Adding a starter is a must, and with how much they’ve improved on offense, it could propel them into the conversation of being the team to beat in the American League.