The Yankees have signed right-hander Ian Hamilton to a minor league deal, according to his transactions tracker at MLB.com. Hamilton will presumably be invited to participate in major league Spring Training.
Hamilton, 28 in June, has 15 scattered major league appearances, with 10 of those coming in 2018, four in 2020 and one last year. He has a 4.91 ERA over 14 2/3 innings in that time, striking out 14.1% of hitters while walking 12.5% of them and posting a 39.1% ground ball rate.
Last year, he was in the Twins’ system but not on the 40-man roster. He was briefly added to the big league club as a COVID substitute, making a single appearance of 2 2/3 innings. He made 23 appearances for the Triple-A St. Paul Saints, posting a 1.88 ERA with a 32.1% strikeout rate, 7.1% walk rate and 51.6% ground ball rate. He was then traded to the Guardians for catcher Sandy León, but the switch seemed to throw him off his rhythm. He posted a 6.27 ERA in 15 appearances after the deal with his walk rate jumping up to 13.1%, though he still got strikeouts at a 28.6% rate and kept 50% of balls in play on the ground.
Between the two organizations, Hamilton posted a 3.61 ERA in 47 1/3 Triple-A innings while striking out 30.6% of batters faced and getting grounders on more than half of balls in play. His 9.7% combined walk rate was a bit high, but it was still a solid showing and the Yankees are intrigued enough to give him a closer look. The club has lost some bullpen pieces this winter, with Chad Green, Aroldis Chapman and Miguel Castro having signed elsewhere, while Zack Britton is still a free agent. The most significant addition to the Yankee bullpen so far has been the signing of Tommy Kahnle, but Hamilton will provide some non-roster depth and try to earn his way into the club’s plans. If he can succeed in that regard, he still has an option season remaining and comes with plenty of club control since he’s yet to cross the one-year service time mark.