12:10pm: Joel Sherman of The New York Post adds that Difo will have the right to opt out of the deal on July 1.
Difo, 31 in April, has appeared in each of the past eight MLB seasons, not offering much at the plate but proving to be quite versatile. Through 1306 plate appearances in his career, he has a batting line of .250/.311/.353 for a wRC+ of 74, indicating he’s been 26% below league average in that time.
That’s not terribly exciting offense, but his best attributes are in other parts of his game. Difo is a switch-hitter and has played every position on the diamond except for first base and catcher. His glovework on the infield is also generally graded as average or better, giving him plenty of avenues for helping out a club. He had to settle on a minor league deal with the Diamondbacks for 2022, eventually getting selected to the big league club but only appearing in three games.
The Yankee infield has some uncertainty in it right now. On paper, a potential alignment would feature Anthony Rizzo at first, Gleyber Torres at second, Josh Donaldson at third and youngster Oswald Peraza at shortstop. DJ LeMahieu could be a factor at various positions but he finished the season injured and his health is uncertain right now. There’s also young utility player Oswaldo Cabrera in the mix, though he might be on the outfield depth chart until the club makes upgrades there. Isiah Kiner-Falefa is also on the roster, seemingly having been bumped into a utility role by Peraza. That’s a lot of options but Torres, Kiner-Falefa and Donaldson have all been mentioned in trade rumors. Peraza and Cabrera each had solid debuts in 2022 but still don’t have much experience.
By adding Difo, the club has given themselves a glove-first veteran depth option on hand to be deployed as needed. He has less than five years of MLB service time, meaning he could be retained for 2024 via arbitration if he works his way into the team’s plans.