Now 31 years old, Banuelos inked a minor league deal with the Yankees back in March and finally made it to the Majors for the team for whom he was considered a top prospect for so many years. He’s pitched rather well in Pinstripes, too, notching a 2.16 ERA, a 22.9% strikeout rate, an 8.6% walk rate and a huge 62.5% ground-ball rate in a small sample of 8 1/3 innings out of the bullpen.
Despite that solid showing, the Yankees will turn that roster spot over to the younger Sears, who has been excellent both in the Majors (seven shutout innings) and in Triple-A so far this season (1.83 ERA, 50-to-6 K/BB ratio in 39 1/3 innings). At this point, there’s little denying that Sears has earned himself a more prominent look in the Majors, but it’s still at least a mild surprise that it came at the expense of Banuelos, given his solid showing thus far.
With Banuelos now off the 40-man roster, the Yankees will have a week to trade him or attempt to pass him through outright waivers. Banuelos is out of minor league options and can’t be sent down without first clearing waivers — which surely played a role in today’s DFA — so any club who claims him or acquires him in a trade will need keep him on the active roster.