Understandably, names like Chris Parmelee, Vinnie Pestano, and Pete Kozma don't excite Yankee fans the same way CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Mark Teixeira did in 2009, or Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, and Jacoby Ellsbury did in 2014.
I can't imagine Modell's is having a hard time keeping up with all the demand for Kirby Yates jerseys; the front office probably isn't saying that the Anthony Swarzak signing just may be the one that puts this team over the top; and I'm going to go out on a limb and say YES executives are not expecting viewership to double thanks to the Ronald Torreyes acquisition.
Fans, for the most part, are angry. The Yankees are the only team in baseball that didn't sign a major league free agent this offseason. Instead, the Yankees were active through trades and with minor league deals. Both the Aaron Hicks and Starlin Castro trades were crowd pleasers as they mark the organization's continued push to get younger and more athletic by dealing from surplus. However, their complete absence from free agency has left fans irate and led to sarcastic jeers along the lines of "No stopping us now!" when signings like Chris Parmelee are made.
It's important to note, though, that while it is understandable to be agitated with their lack of a major league signing, there's really no reason to be mad over the bevy of minor league deals they've made. There's essentially no downside to them as they only cost what amounts to chump change for the New York Yankees. If they catch lightning in a bottle with even one of these guys, it's worth it. Even if they don't, it's not like they're expected to be major league contributors, so it won't hurt the team in any way. At the very least, they will be bodies on a Triple-A team that is in desperate need of depth. Their entire offseason transaction log can be found here.
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees were shallow coming into the offseason and it only got worse. Luis Severino, Greg Bird, and Gary Sanchez were graduating into the majors. Other top talent like Jorge Mateo and James Kaprielian, for example, are not ready for Triple-A yet, and the Yankees lost four candidates for Scranton in the Aroldis Chapman trade (Rookie Davis, Tony Renda, Caleb Cotham, Eric Jagielo).
Most of the guys they've signed are ticketed for Pennsylvania, and ideally that's where they'll stay. I don't care if Scranton wins or loses 100 games, and I don't know how much the Yankees organization cares either, but the bottom line is you still need people to fill out a Triple-A roster.
So their floor is minor league contributors, but like I said, there's a chance that at least someone will emerge and play a role in the big leagues. Obviously, none of these guys will be All-Stars or MVP candidates, but if the Yankees succumb to injuries, they provide some depth. If they stink, they stink; the Yankees can definitely afford to eat the small contracts.
Looking at the players, there's at least a glimmer of hope for some. Offensively, Pete Kozma makes Stephen Drew look like Bryce Harper, but he has a solid glove at shortstop and could be a defensive specialist on a team lacking infield depth. Ronald Torreyes is another middle infielder devoid of power, but he's a contact hitter with some speed. The recently acquired Chris Parmalee has a little bit of pop in his bat and provides first base depth in the wake of Greg Bird's injury.
Pitching wise, Vinnie Pestano was once a premier setup man, and while he's tailed off, he still has a high K/9 and is effective against righties. Kirby Yates was a pitching machine last year, but he's had good strikeout rates in the minors and has a serviceable breaking ball. Anthony Swarzak, well I'm really not sure what they saw in him, but he did have a 2.91 ERA over 96 innings in 2013, so that's... something.
I'm not saying you should be excited about any of these signings, but there's really no reason to be against them. Again, it's more likely they will be Triple-A players all year, outside of perhaps a brief call-up and September roster expansions. If they do make it up to the bigs, I can't really foresee any of them having much of an impact even in the most optimistic scenarios.
However, the point is that it doesn't matter. There's precedent for players coming in on minor league deals and then having impact seasons in the majors, so while it's not probable any of the guys they've signed will have any impact, it is possible. A great way to evaluate moves is from a worst-case/best-case scenario lens. Worst-case scenario is all these guys prove why they're out of the majors and are nothing more than bodies on the Triple-A roster. Best case scenario is even just one of them make good on whatever the Yankees saw in them, and make a positive impact on the big league club.
It's fair to be upset with the Yankees lack of a major league signing, but don't be upset with their bevy of minor league signings, because they're worth the (lack of) risk.