Yankees First Baseman Chris Parmelee Elects Free Agency


The New York Yankees already meager depth at first base became even thinner as veteran option Chris Parmelee elected free agency Thursday.

The New York Yankees saw how quickly depth at a position can evaporate when their top four options at first base hit the disabled list in quick succession, forcing them to use rookie Rob Refsnyder, who had never before played the position professionally, their for an extended stretch of the year.

Neither of the first baseman the Yankees are counting on for 2017 have even 50 big league games on their resume, and one, 23-year-old Greg Bird, missed the entire 2016 campaign following shoulder surgery.

New York signed journeyman first baseman Chris Parmelee as a safety net at the position back in February, but he spent most of the season with Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre, hitting .248/.335/.449 with 11 home runs in 245 plate appearances for the Railriders.

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Parmelee did see some action in the Bronx after starter Mark Teixeira and primary backup Dustin Ackley both landed on the DL, but Parmelee suffered his own injury, a strained hamstring, after just six games. To his credit, he made a big impact during his short time with the Yankees, going 4-for-8 with four runs scored, two homers, and a double before being sidelined.

By the time Parmelee returned from injury, New York had Texieira back healthy and had promoted Tyler Austin to split time with the vet at first. When he was reinstated off the DL, the club decided to outright him off the 40-man roster and outright him back to Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre.

Because he’s been outrighted before, Parmelee had the option to elect free agency. It initially appeared he was accepting the assignment to the Railriders, but apparently that will not be the case as Parmelee will now hit the open market.

The 28-year-old has hit .248/.313/.405 (97 OPS+) in 1011 career big league plate appearances over six seasons. He’s seen action for the Twins and Orioles as well as the Yankees.

Next: New York Yankees 2016 Season Awards

While the loss of Parmelee is not a huge one, it does act as a reminder that New York should probably add a veteran first baseman or two this winter, at least on a minor league deal. A jack of all trades with some pop like Steve Pearce of Sean Rodriguez could help with this, although they will probably require a multi-year commitment.