Yankees Sign Eight, Including Gray, To Avoid Arbitration

(Sonny Gray )

The Yankees announced on Friday afternoon that they agreed to terms with RHP Dellin Betances, 1B Greg Bird, RHP Sonny Gray, SS Didi Gregorius, OF Aaron Hicks, RHP Tommy Kahnle, LHP James Paxton and C Austin Romine on one-year, non-guaranteed contracts, thus avoiding arbitration.

The name that jumps out is Sonny Gray, who had a rough 2018 season, in which he went 11-9 (yes, he did have one more win than Jacob deGrom thanks to the Yankees offense) with a 4.90 ERA, and was relegated to the bullpen in July.

Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman made clear after the season ended that he was going to move Gray in the offseason, which was very unusual since Cashman keeps his thinking close to the vest.

The Yankees reportedly have explored sending him to Cincinnati, but nothing has been that serious.

It might be to the Yankees’ benefit that Gray is still here since CC Sabathia had unexpected surgery on his heart, and even though the Yankees expect him ready for spring training, his health for the entire season is far from certain.

Other news the Yankees announced on Friday includes:

  •  RHP A.J. Cole was claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Indians.
  • INF Hanser Alberto (who was designated for assigment Friday morning when Zach Britton signing became official) has been claimed off waivers by the Baltimore Orioles.
  • The Yankees signed RHP Drew Hutchison (1/10/19) and OF Matt Lipka (1/5/19) to minor league contracts with invitations to Major League Spring Training. Hutchison, 28, split the 2018 season between the Philadelphia Phillies and Texas Rangers, going 2-2 with a 6.75 ERA (42.2IP, 50H, 32ER, 26BB, 31K, 9HR) in 16 games (five starts). The Lakeland, Fla., native has made 98 appearances (79 starts) across five Major League seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays (2012, ’14-16), Pittsburgh Pirates (2016), Phillies (2018) and Rangers (2018) and posted a 32-23 career record with a 5.10 ERA (460.1IP, 489H, 272R/261ER, 157BB, 415K, 68HR). He became the youngest Opening Day starter (24 years, 227 days) in Blue Jays history in 2015, when he defeated the Yankees on 4/6/15 at Yankee Stadium (6.0IP, 1ER). He was originally selected by Toronto in the 15th round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.                                                                                  Lipka, 26, played the 2018 season for San Francisco’s Double-A Richmond affiliate, where he hit .240 (73-for-304) with 47R, 12 doubles, 5 triples, 4HR, 30RBI and 21SB in 123 games. He made at least 10 starts at all three outfield spots, including 58 in center field, 25 in right field and 10 in left field.                                                        A native of Snellville, Ga., the right-handed batter has played nine minor league seasons in the Atlanta Braves (2010-16), Texas Rangers (2017) and Giants (2018) organizations. In 868 games, he is a career .248 (767-for-3,090) hitter with 435R, 134 doubles, 36 triples, 27HR, 255RBI and 186SB.                                                          He was originally selected by Atlanta in the first round (35th overall) of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.

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