8:28pm: New York officially announced the acquisition of Allen in exchange for minor league right-hander Diego Hernandez and cash. Hernandez, an 18-year-old native of Mexico, signed with New York as an undrafted free agent last year. He spent 2022 in the Dominican Summer League, starting five of 12 games.
7:17pm: The Yankees are acquiring outfielder Greg Allen from the Red Sox, reports Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). Allen had been in the Boston organization on a minor league contract. Abraham adds the trade was due to an upward mobility clause in Allen’s deal which required the Red Sox to either promote him or trade him if another club offered an immediate big league roster spot.
While neither team has yet announced the trade, that suggests Allen is likely to step onto New York’s MLB roster in the next couple days. The Yankees will have to create a spot on the 40-man roster, though that can be done by transferring Carlos Rodón to the 60-day injured list. IL transfers are backdated to the time of the original placement (in Rodón’s case, Opening Day) and there’s no chance he’ll be ready for MLB action by next week.
Once official, it’ll be Allen’s second stint as a Yankee. The switch-hitting outfielder appeared in 15 games for New York two years ago. He played well, hitting .270/.417/.432 over 48 trips to the plate. Allen’s modest pre-2021 track record led the Yankees to place him on waivers despite that small-sample production. The Pirates claimed him and kept him on the roster for the majority of last season, but he slumped to a .186/.260/.271 line with a 31.3% strikeout rate in 134 trips to the plate. That brought his career slash to .232/.299/.336 in exactly 800 plate appearances over four teams.
Pittsburgh ran Allen through waivers at the end of the year. He caught on with the Red Sox on an offseason minor league pact and has impressed over 37 games for their Triple-A affiliate in Worcester. He’s hitting .250/.407/.388 in 151 trips to the plate. Allen has walked at a robust 13.9% clip and kept his strikeouts to a far more manageable 19.2% rate than he had in the majors last season. He’s also gone a staggering 23-23 in stolen base attempts. No other minor league player has run more often without yet being thrown out.
Allen has always had plus speed and strong basestealing instincts. He’s 45-53 in that regard in his major league career, an excellent 84.9% success rate. The introduction of more favorable rules for baserunners (larger bases, a pitch clock and pickoff limitations) should only make things easier for him in that regard. Allen’s athleticism hasn’t translated into universally strong defensive grades, however. Public metrics have pegged him as an above-average corner outfielder but given him mixed reviews over his 966 major league innings in center field.
The 30-year-old is out of minor league option years. Assuming the Yankees add him to the MLB roster, they’ll have to keep him in the majors or designate him for assignment. He’ll add another veteran depth outfielder behind Aaron Judge and Harrison Bader. New York has tried a number of different players in left field, giving the bulk of that time to Oswaldo Cabrera and Aaron Hicks. None of Cabrera, Hicks, Willie Calhoun nor Isiah Kiner-Falefa has contributed much offensively. Cabrera is the only member of that group who still has remaining minor league options.