Infielder Kevin Smith has a deal in place with the Yankees. The player posted on X a picture of a kid, presumably Smith himself, in Yankee gear. The picture came with the caption “Headed Home for 2024.” The client of The Bledsoe Agency was born and played high school ball in East Greenbush, New York. Jon Heyman of The New York Post confirms that the two sides agreed to a deal, which Martín Gallegos of MLB.com reports to be a minor league contract. Hat tip to Gary Phillips of the New York Daily News for passing along the post from Smith.
Smith, 27, spent the past two years with the Athletics after coming over from the Blue Jays in the Matt Chapman trade. Between those two clubs, he’s received 333 plate appearances at the big league level over the past three years but has hit just .173/.215/.301 in that time. He exhausted his final option year in 2023. The A’s non-tendered him at season’s end even though he was still two years away from qualifying for arbitration.
He has hit much better in the minor leagues and that continued in 2023. In 183 Triple-A plate appearances, he put up a huge batting line of .324/.372/.653. That came in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League but it still amounted to a wRC+ of 137. He also stole nine bases in that time and lined up defensively at second base, third base and shortstop for the Aviators.
In the big leagues, his glovework at shortstop hasn’t received amazing grades but he has been given strong marks at third. He’s also seen some very limited time at left field and first base.
The Yankees project to have Anthony Volpe at shortstop and DJ LeMahieu at third base. There have been some rumors of Gleyber Torres trades, which would free up second for LeMahieu, but Torres is still on the roster. The club also has Oswald Peraza, Oswaldo Cabrera and Jeter Downs on the roster as utility/depth options. If Smith is able to crack the roster at any point, he has just one year and 63 days of service time, meaning the Yankees could keep him around beyond 2024 if they would like.