The Yankees announced their 60-player Spring Training player pool earlier today, a list that included a couple of new faces to the organization. New York announced that infielder Matt Duffy and catcher Max McDowell were signed to minor league contracts, while righty Dan Otero was released from his previous minors deal with the club and re-signed to a new pact. In addition, right-hander Luis Severino was officially placed on the 60-day injured list in the wake of his Tommy John surgery last February.
Duffy was most recently a member of the Rangers organization, though Texas announced earlier today that Duffy had been released. It didn’t take him long to catch on with another team, as Duffy will now return to the AL East in the pinstripes after spending the last four seasons with the Rays.
Acquired in the 2016 trade that saw Matt Moore go from Tampa to San Francisco, the Rays had hopes that Duffy would become an everyday infielder, though Duffy was plagued by injuries. Duffy did manage a solid .294/.361/.366 slash line over 560 PA and 132 games for Tampa Bay in 2018, though that performance was sandwiched between missing the entire 2017 season and only 46 games played in 2019. Duffy has worked mostly as a third baseman, though he has enough experience at second base and shortstop that could provide utility depth for the Yankees if he cracks the MLB roster.
McDowell joins the Yankees after spending his five pro seasons with the Brewers, who selected him in the 13th round of the 2015 draft. McDowell has hit .232/.335/.323 over 1417 career plate appearances in the minors.
It’s safe to assume that Otero’s new deal overwrites some type of opt-out clause in his previous minor league pact, signed back in early February. The 35-year-old groundball specialist is looking to bounce back from a pair of shaky seasons in Cleveland’s bullpen, as Otero had a lot of trouble with home runs (1.8 HR/9) when batters did manage to get the ball in the air against him. Otero’s 5.09 ERA in 88 1/3 innings over the last two seasons stands in sharp contrast to his 2016-17 numbers — a 2.14 ERA, 5.00 K/BB rate, and 6.5 K/9 over 130 2/3 frames for the Tribe.