Who Did the Yankees Sign This Offseason?

The New York Yankees have been relatively quiet this offseason, but they did make a few signings. Here’s a look at who they added to the team.

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Gerrit Cole

Cole’s Background

Cole was born in Santa Monica, California and grew up in Newport Beach. He played middle infield and pitched for his high school team, and was drafted out of high school by the Yankees in the first round of the 2008 MLB draft. Cole opted not to sign with the Yankees and instead attended UCLA, where he played college baseball for the Bruins. In 2011, Cole was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates with the first overall pick in the MLB draft, and he made his major league debut with the Pirates in 2013.

Why the Yankees Signed Cole

The New York Yankees signed Cole to a record-setting nine-year, $324 million contract this offseason. Cole is coming off of a career year in which he went 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, and 276 strikeouts in 212 innings pitched for the Houston Astros. He was also named an All-Star for the first time in his career.

Cole was arguably the best pitcher on the free agent market this offseason, and the Yankees made signing him a priority. They were willing to set a new record for a pitcher’s contract in order to land him. The primary reason for this is that Cole is one of the best pitchers in baseball and gives the Yankees a legitimate ace to lead their pitching staff.

In addition to being an excellent pitcher, Cole is also very durable. He has pitched at least 200 innings in each of the last three seasons and has made at least 33 starts in each of those seasons as well. This durability is crucial for a Yankees team that saw several of their pitchers get injured last season, including Luis Severino and CC Sabathia.

The Yankees are hopeful that Cole can help them get back to the World Series for the first time since 2009. They believe that he gives them their best chance to win a championship, and they are willing to pay him whatever it takes to make that happen.

DJ LeMahieu

The New York Yankees have signed free agent infielder DJ LeMahieu to a two-year, $24 million contract. LeMahieu, who won the National League batting title with a .348 average last season, will fill the void left by the departure of infielder Didi Gregorius.

LeMahieu’s Background

DJ LeMahieu was born in Visalia, California and attended high school in nearby Benicia. He played baseball and football in high school, but he did not receive any scholarship offers to play either sport in college. Instead, he accepted a Division II baseball scholarship from Lewis-Clark State College in Idaho.

LeMahieu was not drafted by an MLB team out of college, but he signed with the Chicago Cubs as an undrafted free agent in 2009. He made his MLB debut with the Cubs in 2011, but he was traded to the Colorado Rockies after just one season. LeMahieu became a regular starter for the Rockies from 2012 onward, and he won National League Gold Glove Awards at second base in 2014 and 2017. He also won NL Silver Slugger Awards in 2015 and 2016.

Why the Yankees Signed LeMahieu

The New York Yankees entered the 2019-20 offseason with a clear goal: to improve their offense. After a disappointing 2019 campaign in which the team ranked 21st in runs scored, 29th in home runs, and 27th in OPS, it was clear that the Yankees needed to add some firepower to their lineup if they wanted to compete for a World Series title in 2020.

One of the ways they accomplished this goal was by signing second baseman DJ LeMahieu to a two-year, $24 million contract. LeMahieu is coming off of a 2019 season in which he hit .327/.375/.522 with 26 home runs and 102 RBI for the Colorado Rockies. He also won the National League batting title and finished second in NL MVP voting.

The 30-year-old LeMahieu is not known for his power, but he is one of the best contact hitters in baseball. He has a career .298/.350/.428 batting line and has struck out just 78 times in 486 plate appearances over the last two seasons. He should be a nice addition to a Yankees lineup that already includes sluggers like Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Miguel Andujar.

The signing of LeMahieu gives the Yankees a lot of flexibility with their lineup. He can play either second base or third base, which will allow manager Aaron Boone to move Andujar around depending on match-ups. He can also spell first baseman Luke Voit when needed or serve as a designated hitter against left-handed pitching.

LeMahieu is not going to be the difference-maker that some of the other big names signed this offseason are, but he is a very solid player who will make the Yankees offense better in 2020.

Brett Gardner

The New York Yankees have signed outfielder Brett Gardner to a one-year contract extension. Gardner, who will turn 36 in August, was set to become a free agent after the 2021 season. The extension is worth $10 million, with a club option for 2022.

Gardner’s Background

Brett Gardner was born on August 24, 1983, in Holly Hill, South Carolina. He played baseball and football in high school and was named All-State in both sports. Gardner attended the College of Charleston, where he played baseball for three years. He was drafted by the New York Yankees in the third round of the 2005 Major League Baseball Draft.

Gardner made his Major League debut with the Yankees on June 30, 2008, against the Tampa Bay Rays. He appeared in 16 games for the Yankees that season and batted .228 with one home run and three RBIs. In 2009, he appeared in 120 games for the Yankees and batted .270 with five home runs and 36 RBIs. He also stole 21 bases.

Gardner had his best season in 2010, when he batted .277 with 10 home runs and 47 RBIs. He also stole 47 bases, which led the American League. Gardner struggled in 2011, batting just .259 with seven home runs and 36 RBIs. He also stole 24 bases.

The 2012 season was a breakout year for Gardner. He batted .273 with 19 home runs and 81 RBIs. He also stole 49 bases, which led the American League. Gardner was named to his first All-Star team that season. He won a Gold Glove Award for his defense in left field.

Gardner signed a four-year contract extension with the Yankees worth $52 million before the 2014 season. He batted .256 with 17 home runs and 58 RBIs that season. In 2015, he batted .206 with seven home runs and 31 RBIs as he dealt with injuries for much of the season.

Last season, Gardner bounced back to hit .261 with career-highs in home runs (21) and RBIs (58). He also stole 20 bases as he helped lead the Yankees to within one game of the World Series.

Why the Yankees Re-Signed Gardner

The Yankees had a very busy offseason, but one of their most important moves was re-signing outfielder Brett Gardner. Gardner has been with the Yankees since 2008 and is a key piece of their lineup.

There are a few reasons why the Yankees decided to re-sign Gardner. First, he is a very good hitter. In 2019, he hit .251/. 343/.503 with 28 home runs and 74 RBI. He also has a career .261 batting average and .339 on-base percentage.

Second, Gardner is a good fielder. He has won two Gold Glove awards and led all outfielders in defensive runs saved in 2019.

Third, Gardner is a good base runner. He has stolen 20 or more bases in six different seasons and has a career stolen base percentage of 77%.

Fourth, Gardner is a good clubhouse guy. He is a leader on the team and is respected by his teammates.

The Yankees are lucky to have Gardner on their team and they made the right decision by re-signing him this offseason.

Zack Britton

The Yankees have been one of the busiest teams this offseason, signing a number of high-profile free agents. One of their most recent signings is relief pitcher Zack Britton. Let’s take a look at what he brings to the team.

Britton’s Background

Zack Britton is an American professional baseball pitcher who is a free agent. He has played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, and Houston Astros. Britton was born in Santa Monica, California, and grew up in Panorama City, Los Angeles. He attended Lutheran High School North in Dallas, Texas. As a youth, he played for the Dallas Tigers baseball organization. Britton played college baseball for Weatherford College and Florida Atlantic University before being drafted by the Orioles in 2006.

Why the Yankees Signed Britton

The New York Yankees filled a big hole in their bullpen by signing left-hander Zack Britton to a three-year, $39 million contract this offseason. Britton, who turns 32 in December, is coming off a down year in which he posted a 4.20 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in 40 relief appearances for the Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers. However, he’s one of the best relievers in baseball when he’s on his game, and the Yankees are hoping that he can return to form in 2019.

So why did the Yankees sign Britton? First and foremost, they needed another left-handed reliever after trading away Chasen Shreve and Giovanny Gallegos at the trade deadline last season. Britton will join fellow southpaws Aroldis Chapman and Dellin Betances at the back of the Yankees’ bullpen, giving manager Aaron Boone a dangerous trio of lefties to work with late in games.

In addition to his value as a lefty specialist, Britton is also a ground ball machine. His career ground ball rate of 70 percent is the highest mark among all active pitchers with at least 500 innings pitched, and his sinker has been one of the most effective pitches in baseball over the last few years. That ought to play well at Yankee Stadium, which has been notorious for yielding home runs since it opened its doors in 2009.

Given his struggles last season, Britton will likely have to prove himself before he reclaims his spot as one of the Yankees’ primary late-inning weapons. But if he can return to form, he could be a key piece on a team with World Series aspirations in 2019.

Masahiro Tanaka

The Yankees have signed Masahiro Tanaka to a seven-year, $155 million contract. The contract also has an opt-out clause after the fourth year. Tanaka is a Japanese pitcher who has been one of the best pitchers in Japan the past few years.

Tanaka’s Background

Masahiro Tanaka was born in Itami, Japan, on November 1, 1988. He grew up playing various sports including baseball and soccer. At the age of 14, he quit soccer to focus on baseball. He attended Komadai Tomakomai High School where he played baseball. Tanaka was drafted by the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in the 2006 NPB draft. He spent 7 seasons with the Eagles, compiling a 99-35 win-loss record and a 2.30 ERA. In 2013, he finished with a 24-0 win-loss record, becoming the first Japanese pitcher in NPB history to win every decision in a single season. After the 2013 season, Tanaka was posted by the Eagles and was signed by the New York Yankees.

Why the Yankees Re-Signed Tanaka

The New York Yankees made headlines this offseason when they re-signed Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka to a seven-year, $155 million contract. The move surprised many, as Tanaka had just come off a season in which he was plagued by injuries. So why did the Yankees make such a big commitment to a player with an uncertain future?

There are a few reasons. First, Tanaka is still just 28 years old. He has shown flashes of brilliance during his time in the majors, and the Yankees believe he has the potential to be one of the best pitchers in baseball. Second, the Yankees believe that they can help Tanaka stay healthy by managing his workload appropriately. Finally, the Yankees feel that they need Tanaka to compete for a World Series title in 2017.

So while there are some risks involved, the Yankees feel that re-signing Tanaka was a necessary move if they want to have any chance of winning another championship.

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