The Yankees have signed utility player Josh VanMeter to a minor league deal, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The Sterling Sports Management client will presumably receive an invite to major league Spring Training.
VanMeter, 29 in March, has exactly 300 games of big league experience. He suited up for the Reds, Diamondbacks and Pirates from 2019 to 2022, hitting 19 home runs in 841 plate appearances. He struck out in 24.7% of those but also drew walks at a solid 10.5% clip. The overall production has still been subpar, with his career line of .206/.293/.347 translating to a wRC+ of 72. But he has stolen 17 bases and provided defensive versatility. He has played all the non-shortstop infield positions, the outfield corners and even small amounts of time at both ends of the battery.
In 2023, he signed a minor league deal with the Brewers but didn’t make it to the majors. He spent significant time on the minor league injured list and only played 46 Triple-A games. Incredibly, he walked in 24.2% of his plate appearances at that level, leading to a bizarre slash line of .199/.400/.362 and wRC+ of 106.
The Yankees are set to have Anthony Rizzo and DJ LeMahieu at the infield corners, but each of them are now in their mid-3os and they both dealt battled injuries last year. Gleyber Torres should be at second base but he’s also in his final year of club control and has been in trade rumors for a while now. They have depth options with each of Oswald Peraza, Oswaldo Cabrera, Jeter Downs and Jorbit Vivas on the 40-man roster, but they’re all fairly lacking in experience and may be better served getting regular at-bats in the minors as opposed to sitting on the bench in the majors.
If VanMeter is added to the roster at any point, he’s out of options but could be retained beyond 2024 via arbitration.