The Yankees announced that they’ve designated infielder/outfielder Rob Refsnyder and first baseman Ji-Man Choi for assignment in order to clear space on the roster for last night’s acquisitions of Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle. A third 40-man spot wasn’t needed, as Tyler Clippard went to the White Sox in the trade as well. However, the Yankees did option left-hander Chasen Shreve to clear a 25-man spot.
[Related: Updated New York Yankees depth chart]
The 26-year-old Refsnyder generated a fair bit of optimism among Yankees fans as he rose through the system, but he’s never gotten an extended big league look due to questions about his defense. He’s appeared in 94 games across the past three seasons, logging time at second base, first base and in the outfield corners, but his bat has produced just a .241/.312/.332 output through 240 plate appearances. Those questions about his defense always made him more of a favorite among Yankee fans than in prospect rankings, but Refsnyder does carry a solid .292/.372/.424 batting line through 1244 career PAs at the Triple-A level.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that he’s gotten the sense that enough other clubs are intrigued by Refsnyder’s contact skills that the Yankees will be able to trade him before his DFA window expires. (The new CBA changed that allotted window from 10 days to seven days.) The return isn’t likely to be much, but he’s optionable for the remainder of the season, which could appeal to some clubs in need of bench depth.
Choi tallied just 18 PAs in his brief big league tenure with the Yankees but made them count, slugging a pair of homers and a double in his six games in pinstripes. That impressive showing notwithstanding, he’s a career .181/.279/.386 hitter in 147 PAs between the Halos and Yanks, though like Refsnyder he does come with an impressive Triple-A track record. Through 851 PAs at that level, Choi has raked at a .300/.391/.462 clip. He has one option year remaining after the 2017 season, which could be appealing to clubs on the hunt for depth pieces, but he’s also cleared waivers in the past and came to the Yankees on a minor league deal this past January.