Yankees sign former left-handed hitting infielder to MiLB deal, according to insider

MLB: San Diego Padres at Pittsburgh Pirates, yankees
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Rougned Odor is back with the New York Yankees according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, as the veteran infielder has signed a Minor League deal. He can opt out of said deal after July 1st, and given some of the depth issues the team has in their infield, it makes sense to bolster it with a veteran option who has some familiarity in the Bronx. He last played at the Major League level for the San Diego Padres in 2023, where he hit four home runs in 59 games with an 86 wRC+, playing first base, second base, third base, and even some right field.

He last played for the Yankees in 2021, where he swatted 15 home runs in 102 games, posting a .665 OPS and 1.3 fWAR as a utility infielder for a depleted roster.

Rougned Odor Back With the Yankees on Minor League Contract

MLB: San Diego Padres at New York Yankees
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Today has been a weird day of news for New York, as an earthquake struck the city and neighboring states earlier in the morning, and now Rougned Odor is back with the Yankees. He originally signed a deal with the Yomiuri Giants of Japan’s Nippon Baseball League, but after being told he wouldn’t make the team, he left to return to the United States. Now, he’ll settle for a Minor League deal with the team that traded for him a few years ago.

His glove is shaky at various positions, but the ability to play multiple positions is inherently pretty valuable, and the Yankees will likely view him as a depth option. Since he’s not on their 40-man roster, the team does not have to make any corresponding moves to complete this transaction. He’ll likely report to Triple-A with the Scranton RailRiders, providing some veteran insurance for an infield depth chart full of massive question marks.

Rougned Odor has had a lengthy MLB career, playing over 1,000 games with 178 career home runs and 10.9 fWAR with the Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, and San Diego Padres. He’s struggled mightily since his age 21-22 seasons when the Rangers won the American League West in back-to-back seasons, although they would fall in the American League Division Series twice to the Toronto Blue Jays.

MLB: Spring Training-Atlanta Braves at New York Yankees
Mar 10, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees third baseman DJ LeMahieu (26) looks on against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Smith, Caleb Durbin, and Jeter Downs are some of the prominent infield depth options available for the Yankees if they were to lose an infielder, and given some of their injuries, it’s not a bad idea to add more. DJ LeMahieu is still working back from a non-displaced fracture in his right foot, with his timeline still remaining up in the air as he continues to do light baseball work.

Oswald Peraza, who suffered a shoulder injury in Spring Training, had reportedly already begun hitting, so there’s some confidence he could return relatively soon. He was supposed to be shutdown from baseball activities for six to eight weeks but has already begun that process much earlier than the initially reported timeframe. He would likely report to Scranton as well when he returns, as the Yankees have Jon Berti and Oswaldo Cabrera as their primary infield options at third base.

As their infielders work back from injury, Rougned Odor should provide some insurance in the meantime, but if he is not placed on an MLB roster by July 1st, he can opt-out of his deal and test the market again.

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