The Yankees have signed infielder Derek Dietrich to a minor league contract, per Chris Hilburn-Trenkle of Baseball America. It’ll be the second straight season with time spent in the Yankees organization for Dietrich, who’s represented by All Bases Covered Sports Management.
Dietrich, 32, didn’t play in the big leagues last year, instead splitting the season between the Triple-A affiliates for the Yankees and Nationals. In a combined 302 trips to the plate during that time, he slashed .163/.338/.293 — a continuation of the struggles he’s endured in his most recent big league stints. Dietrich swatted 19 home runs with the Reds in 2019, going on an epic May hot streak that saw him swat 12 home runs in a month’s time while slashing .304/.400/.841. It’s been downhill since, however, as evidenced by a .143/.311/.302 slash in his past 236 Major League plate appearances.
Dietrich has drawn plenty of walks in recent years, both in the big leagues and in Triple-A, as he’s morphed into a three-true-outcome player. Since 2019, in 682 plate appearances between the Majors and Triple-A, Dietrich has homered, walked or struck out in 44.1% of his plate appearances. Add in another somewhat incredible 53 instances of being hit by a pitch, and 51.8% of Dietrich’s plate appearances have ended without a ball in play for defenders to field.
The Yankees have plenty of options at first base and second base, Dietrich’s primary positions, already on the depth chart. Anthony Rizzo and Marwin Gonzalez, both in the Majors, will see the lion’s share of time at first base. Old friend Greg Bird and Ronald Guzman are both playing in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. At second base, the Yanks are set with DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres and Gonzalez on the big league roster, to say nothing of journeymen Jose Peraza and Phillip Evans and top prospect Oswaldo Cabrera down in Triple-A. (Cabrera is on the 40-man roster.) Dietrich, who also has experience in left field and at third base, will give the Yanks another lefty bat to add to that mix in Scranton.