Yankees Non-Tender Former Top Prospect Jacob Lindgren
The New York Yankees decided not to tender a contract to left-handed reliever Jacob Lindgren, the team’s second-round pick in the 2014 June amateur draft.
In a surprise move, the New York Yankees non-tendered former top prospect Jacob Lindgren Friday evening before the 8 pm deadline to extend contracts to players before the 2017 season. Lindgren was ranked the eighth best prospect in the team’s system as recently as 2015 by Baseball America, so the decision to cut ties with him at this point is pretty notable.
It was announced in August that Lindgren would require Tommy John surgery after being sidelined the majority of the season with elbow issues. His 2015 campaign was also cut short by an arm injury when he had surgery to remove a bone chip from his left elbow. Given the 12-14 month rehab time for the procedure, Lindgren probably won’t be back on a mound until 2018.
Lindgren’s only action in 2016 was seven innings for High-A Tampa in which he walked (9) more batters than he struck out (8) and threw an incredible six wild pitches. His performance during spring training was equally disastrous, so it’s possible his arm never fully recovered from the 2015 procedure.
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The 23-year-old lefty was seen as a more or less finished product when the Yankees took him in the second round of the 2014 draft. He cruised through the minors and made his big league debut on May 25th 2015, less than a year after being drafted.
Of course, his performance in the Bronx suggests that he could have used a little fine-tuning before hitting the show. In seven appearances, he allowed three home runs and four walks while striking out eight before hitting the disabled list. Again, it’s possible that the elbow injury played a role in his struggles, especially his control problems.
Although he has fallen off the radar somewhat recently, I would have guessed that Lindgren was too valuable a talent to simply get rid of for no reason. It’s possible the front office already has a handshake agreement in place with Lindgren to re-sign him to a minor league pact, which would free up a 40-man roster spot.
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Otherwise, the team may simply feel that it isn’t worth clogging up a roster spot while Lindgren rehabs. Interestingly, the Yankees do now have an open spot on the 40-man going into the Rule 5 draft, so it’s possible they’ve identified a player they’re dying to take. That would be fun as New York hasn’t been very active in the Rule 5 in recent years.