The Yankees recently signed righty Ryan Weber and southpaw Manny Bañuelos to minor league contracts, according to Chris Hilburn-Trenkle of Baseball America. Both pitchers were minor league free agents, allowing them to sign non-roster deals during the ongoing transactions freeze.
Weber has pitched in the big leagues in each of the past seven years. The sinkerballer has worked in a swing capacity, starting 16 of his 63 appearances and tallying 167 cumulative innings. While he’s only punched out 14.9% of batters faced at the MLB level, Weber has demonstrated excellent control (5.4% walk rate) and racked up grounders on over half the balls in play against him.
The 31-year-old only made four MLB appearances last season, although they came with three different teams. He made one outing each with the Red Sox and Brewers and pitched in a pair of games for the Mariners. Weber spent the bulk of the year with those teams’ respective Triple-A affiliates, combining for 103 1/3 frames of 4.18 ERA ball with a minuscule 3.1% walk percentage in generally hitter-friendly settings.
While Weber has the more recent MLB run of the Yankees’ two new pitching additions, Bañuelos is probably the more familiar name to much of the fanbase. Added by the Yanks as an amateur out of Mexico during the 2008-09 signing period, Bañuelos fairly quickly developed into one of the sport’s top pitching prospects. Baseball America ranked the southpaw among the game’s top 50 overall farmhands entering both the 2011 and 2012 campaigns.
Unfortunately, Bañuelos’ progress was beset by injuries as he hit the high minors. He missed the entire 2013 season recovering from Tommy John surgery and wasn’t as effective upon returning. New York traded him to the Braves in advance of the 2015 season. Bañuelos debuted with seven appearances for Atlanta that year, then didn’t pitch in the majors again until 2019 with the White Sox.
Those two seasons mark his only big league experience to date. Across 77 innings, Bañuelos owns a 6.31 ERA with subpar strikeout and walk rates (17.7% and 12.6%, respectively). He’s spent the past two seasons pitching professionally in foreign leagues, appearing in Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League and in the Mexican League. He’ll return to affiliated ball with his original organization in an attempt to get back to the majors for the first time in three years.