The Rays have acquired first baseman Mike Ford from the Yankees for cash considerations and a player to be named later, both clubs announced. Ford has been optioned to Triple-A Durham. To clear 40-man roster space, Tampa Bay transferred righty Tyler Glasnow from the 10-day to the 60-day injured list.
Ford has appeared in the majors in each of the past three seasons. The left-handed hitter showed plenty of offensive promise as a rookie, when he raked at a .259/.350/.559 clip with twelve home runs over his first 163 MLB plate appearances. Ford, whom the Mariners had selected in the Rule 5 draft the previous year but returned in Spring Training, looked like a potential long-term contributor in the Bronx after that strong debut. He hasn’t been able to follow up on that over the past two years, though.
In 156 plate appearances since the start of 2020, Ford has mustered just a .134/.250/.276 line with five homers. With Luke Voit tearing the cover off the ball last year en route to an MLB-best 22 homers, Ford didn’t have much of an opportunity for regular playing time. Voit’s injury issues this season opened up some recent run for Ford, but the 28-year-old didn’t take advantage. He’s hit just .133/.278/.283 in 72 plate appearances this season with a fairly significant bump in his strikeout rate. That led the Yankees to designate him for assignment last weekend.
Ford’s MLB career is still a collection of fairly small samples. He’s tallied just 319 total plate appearances at the highest level, with a resulting .199/.301/.422 line. Ford has a much bigger body of work at Triple-A, where’s hit a robust .268/.359/.501 in parts of four seasons. With a quality minor league track record, a pair of minor league option years remaining and a low acquisition cost, the Rays felt Ford was a worthwhile pick-up.
Ji-Man Choi has hit very well in limited time between a pair of injured list stints this season. He returned to the lineup this week and figures to assume much of the playing time at first base. Tampa Bay has primarily rotated Austin Meadows and Randy Arozarena between DH and the corner outfield this year. Ford’s likely being brought on as an optionable depth player, and he adds another lefty bat to a first base/DH mix that also includes righties Yandy Díaz and Mike Brosseau.
Glasnow’s move to the 60-day IL is unsurprising. The 27-year-old went on the IL this week after an MRI revealed a partial tear of his UCL. He’s hoping to rehab the injury and avoid Tommy John surgery, but he told reporters after the diagnosis his goal was to make it back for a potential playoff run. Regardless of whether he’ll be able to return at the tail end of the regular season or during the postseason, it never seemed plausible he’d be back within two months.
Brendan Kuty of NJ Advance Media reported that the Rays had acquired Ford shortly before the official announcement. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link) first reported Ford would be optioned to Triple-A.