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Yankees sign lefty pitcher Jose De Paula to major league deal

A minor move with the potential for more? Sure, why not?

De Paula with his best "Pettitte stare." I like it.
De Paula with his best "Pettitte stare." I like it.
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees made their first somewhat-notable import of the off-season today, as they signed former Giants minor league pitcher Jose De Paula to a major league deal. The 26-year-old lefty has never pitched in the majors before, so he has options to be sent down if he's ineffective, but he'll make $510,000 if he cracks the Yankees' major league roster at some point. Here's a bit more background information on De Paula that reporter Joel Sherman learned:

A native of the Dominican Republic, De Paula signed with the Padres in 2007 and spent six years in their system, though he missed the entire 2012 campaign due to visa issues. After posting a 3.86 ERA and 2.57 FIP in 14 starts for Double-A San Antonio in 2013, the Giants claimed him off waivers in the off-season, and he spent 2014 with the Giants' Triple-A affiliate in Fresno. There, he split time in 16 games between the rotation and the bullpen, recording a 4.21 ERA, 4.36 FIP, 7.2 K/9, and 2.8 BB/9 in 51 1/3 innings. (Keep in mind that the Pacific Coast League is an extremely hitter-friendly league where the league ERA was 4.64. Gross.)

De Paula became a minor league free agent at the end of the season, so the Yankees picked him up. The stats are up and down, but they only tell part of the story, as Sherman noted. If the Yankees really saw something they liked in De Paula, then there's not much harm in giving him a contract. Even though it's a major league deal, it's not as though it would be difficult for them to cut him if they don't like the results. If they're considering trying him as a lefty starter as well, all power to them since the possible benefits of a decent lefty starter are quite nice.

As far as the bullpen goes, while it's nice to hope that some of the potential-high impact minor league relievers like Jacob Lindgren and Tyler Webb will break out and make the team out of spring training, it doesn't hurt at all to have some insurance in a pitcher like De Paula. If they're good enough, they'll find their spots on the MLB roster eventually anyway.