Sports Update 

Yankees sign seasoned fan arm to MiLB deal

April 17, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; New York Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake (67) walks to the mound during the eighth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees could use more variety in their bullpen, which is why signing right-handed relief player Ian Hamilton to a minor league contract is so interesting.

The Bombers only have one piece left in Wandy Peralta, which could pose problems for the team this season unless they completely drop the narrative that having decent lefties is essential.

Hamilton, 27, spent last season with the Minnesota Twins, pitching just 2.2 innings at the major league level. He posted a 6.75 ERA across his small sample size, and spent significantly more time in AAA with their affiliate teams. Hamilton enjoyed playing for the Chicago White Sox, Twins, and Cleveland Guardians throughout his career. His last major league stint was with Chicago in 2020, where he pitched just 4.0 innings.

Interestingly, Hamilton has had some success at the AAA level, hosting a 1.88 ERA and 3.14 xFIP across 28.2 innings pitched last season. He enjoyed 11.30 hits per nine, 0.94 home runs per nine rate, 78% left on base rate, and 51.6% ground ball rate. He has a few decent pitches, notably the slider, 4-seam fastball, and he’s bowled a sinker. His fastball averages around 94 mph but he doesn’t get a big break on any of his base courts.

Yankees trying to get value from Ian Hamilton:

Hamilton clearly has some untapped potential, given his numbers last season with Minnesota’s AAA affiliate, and the Yankees may be willing to invest in his growth.

Sometimes a simple adjustment can be the difference between contributing at the MLB level and staying stuck in the minor league system forever. Being 27 certainly doesn’t help Hamilton’s condition, but he’s young enough to have potential, and the Yankees are taking fliers on cheap players with the upside right now, since they’re so close to the $293 million luxury tax threshold.

Unless General Manager Brian Cashman gets rid of one of the big contracts faltering on his finances, I wouldn’t expect the Yankees to make any significant moves this spring until the regular season in late March.

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