The Yankees have acquired first baseman/corner outfielder Jake Bauers from the Reds in exchange for cash, according to team announcements. He’s not on the 40-man roster and has been assigned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Bauers has appeared in parts of three big league seasons, suiting up with the Rays, Indians and Mariners. The left-handed hitter was a highly-regarded prospect, seen by many as a potential plus hitter based on the strength of his minor league numbers. Bauers hit for high batting averages and drew plenty of walks on his way up the ladder, and he appeared among Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects list each season from 2016-18.
The California native has never carried over that success during a lengthy run against MLB arms, though. While he’s continued to draw walks at a strong 11.5% clip in the big leagues, he’s also fanned in 26.4% of his trips to the plate. Bauers hit 11 home runs in 96 games with Tampa Bay as a rookie, but he’s not made much extra-base impact in the seasons since then.
Seattle outrighted Bauers off their 40-man roster at the end of last season, at which point he elected minor league free agency. The 26-year-old caught on with the Reds via minor league contract, and he’s appeared in 29 games with their top affiliate in Louisville. Bauers has gotten off to a dreadful start there, hitting .135/.276/.271 with a 28.4% strikeout rate for the Bats.
Despite that slow start, New York decided to add Bauers as non-roster depth at the upper levels. He’s continued to show quality plate discipline, at the very least, and he’s only a few years removed from being seen as one of the better young bats in the minors.