The Yankees have released seven players so far this season, four position players and three pitchers. The first three releases came during spring training as part of a roster culling. These three major league-caliber players have since latched onto other teams and continue their career. The minor leaguers were just released this past month and will attempt to continue their aspiring baseball careers.
In spring training Juan Rivera was signed on to compete for the Yankees' right-handed outfield bat off the bench. When Mark Teixeira went down he ended up spending most of his time at first base and was looking at becoming the everyday first baseman. He hit .295/.317/.377 in 63 plate appearances, but was released when Lyle Overbay was brought in on short notice. He has since caught on with the Arizona Diamondbacks and has hit .324/.375/.405 for the Triple-A Reno Aces while playing first base and left field.
Matt Diaz was the other veteran brought in to hit lefties off the bench, but he had a much less successful spring. He hit only .200/.250/.200 in 31 plate appearances and when the Yankees had more pressing issues following Curtis Granderson's injury he was released. Diaz signed with the Miami Marlins and hit .341/.385/.459 in 91 plate appearances for the Triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs before getting a call up to the majors. He is now only hitting .167/.211/.222 in 19 plate appearances with Miami.
David Aardsma was in the second year of a two-year contract with the Yankees and was thought to be a lock for the team before spring training even started. He pitched to a 3.52 ERA in 7.2 innings, but was released by the Yankees at the beginning of April just before the start of the season because he was deemed expendable as a one-inning reliever. He signed with Miami and pitched 14 innings with a 2.57 ERA for their Triple-A affiliate before he was released just last week as his contract allowed him to request if he was not in the majors. It was announced less than an hour ago that he signed a minor league deal with the Mets. Sorry, buddy.
Velazquez hit a putrid .173/.253/.173 in 85 plate appearances as Triple-A Scranton's primary shortstop. He has just re-signed with the Miami Marlins after spending the 2012 season with the organization. Juan Cedeno served as Scranton's LOOGY, pitching to a 0.82 ERA in 11 innings before being sent packing. He is now pitching for the Atlanta Braves' Triple-A Gwinnett team where he has a 6.00 ERA in only three innings.
Draft bust Cody Johnson, drafted by the Braves in the first round of the 2006 draft, had been playing in the Yankees' system since 2011. He hit just .167/.297/.259 in 64 plate appearances in 2013 before he was released. He just signed with the York Revolution of the independent Atlantic League, probably ending his hopes of an MLB career. The lone homegrown prospect of the bunch is Shaeffer Hall, who was drafted in the 25th round of the 2009 draft. He was basically a Double-A innings-eater for two years before transitioning to the bullpen in 2013. He pitched to a 3.32 ERA in 19 innings before being released and hooking on with the Oakland Athletics organization.
What have we learned from all of this? Maybe that if no one wants you, the Marlins sure do.
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