The Yankees announced Wednesday that they’ve claimed infielder/outfielder Jahmai Jones off waivers from the Brewers, who’d recently designated him for assignment. Fellow infielder Jordan Groshans has been designated for assignment in order to clear space on the 40-man roster.
A second-round pick by the Angels back in 2015, Jones is a former top-100 prospect who’s struggled in a trio of brief looks at the MLB level between Anaheim, Baltimore and Milwaukee. He’s taken just 90 turns at the plate in the big leagues and produced a .179/.233/.226 line with a dismal 36.7% strikeout rate.
The 26-year-old Jones is a more accomplished minor league hitter, however — as evidenced by a career .251/.377/.436 slash. He’s posted a far more manageable 21.9% strikeout rate at that level while also walking in a huge 15.4% of his 857 plate appearances. Jones has connected on 25 homers, swiped 25 bags and added 42 doubles and seven triples during his time in Triple-A. He’s a right-handed hitter who, in addition to more than 3400 career innings at second base, has logged nearly 1700 innings in center and more than 500 in left field.
Whether Jones sticks on the big league roster in New York is a fair question. He’s out of minor league options, meaning he can’t be sent to Triple-A Scranton without first passing through waivers. The Yanks could carry Jones on the bench in place of Oswald Peraza or Oswaldo Cabrera, opting to get either (likely Peraza) everyday playing time in the minors with a regular role not currently available on the big league roster. Alternatively, the Yankees might simply hope to turn around and pass Jones through waivers themselves, which would allow them to keep him on the Scranton roster as a depth piece who no longer commands a 40-man roster spot.
That same fate could await the 24-year-old Groshans. Like Jones, he’s a former top-100 prospect whose stock has dimmed in recent years. Groshans has just 65 MLB plate appearances and a .262/.308/.312 slash to show for it. His .253/.350/.322 output in 940 Triple-A plate appearances isn’t much better. He’s primarily played on the left side of the infield, splitting time in near even fashion between shortstop and third base, but Groshans does have more limited experience at second base (76 innings) and first base (396 innings) as well.
Groshans does have a minor league option year remaining, which could make him appealing to another club via waiver claim or minor trade. The Yankees will have a week to find a trade partner or complete the process of passing him through waivers. If he goes unclaimed, Groshans could be assigned outright to Triple-A and retained as a non-roster depth option. He lacks the major league service time and prior outright assignment to reject an outright from New York.