Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. The Yankees announced Monday that right-hander Ryan Weber rejected an outright assignment to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, instead electing free agency.
This marks the fourth time the Yankees have designated Weber for assignment and passed him through outright waivers since June. On each occasion, Weber has rejected the outright assignment, renegotiated a new minor league contract and returned to the organization in a matter of days. It seems eminently plausible that’ll happen yet again; Weber and the Yankees have clearly been comfortable with this arrangement all season, and at this juncture of the schedule, it seems unlikely that he’d jump to a new organization for the final couple weeks of the 2022 campaign. Re-signing would perhaps position him for one more run before the end of the season, should the Yanks yet again need to tap into their Scranton depth.
We’ve seen plenty of veterans ride this DFA carousel and routinely return to the same club, though rarely has it been so extreme. (The most recent similar case, oddly, is another Yankees scenario — with righty David Hale back in 2018.) It’s an atypical relationship, to say the least, but it’s also one that has paid dividends. Weber has given the Yankees 10 2/3 innings spread over five games this season and allowed just one run, striking out three and issuing one walk along the way. He’s also been sharp in Triple-A, logging 39 2/3 frames of 3.86 ERA ball with a 27-to-5 K/BB ratio.
Weber’s several stints with the Yankees this year have pushed him north of three years of MLB service time, so if he’s re-selected to the 40-man roster at any point between now and season’s end, he’d technically be controllable via arbitration. That said, given the frequency of this summer’s DFAs and outrights, it’s likely he’d be removed from the 40-man again following the season. Weber now carries a 5.02 ERA, 14.6% strikeout rate, 5.3% walk rate and 53.2% ground-ball rate in 177 2/3 Major League innings split between six teams over an eight-year span.