Just as we were all getting lulled into an eternal lockout, Brian Cashman shook the tree on Thursday afternoon and updated the Yankees’ transaction wire significantly.
The centerpiece was Ender Inciarte, and rightfully so. The former Gold Glove and All-Star center fielder is still just 31 years old, and it isn’t hard to envision him contributing significantly for a lineup that could really use studly defense and contact hitting in the nine hole.
Buried below the fold, though, were a few other intriguing additions, highlighted by the return of former top prospect Wilkerman Garcia as well as Blake Perkins, a former five-tool stud outfielder who spent 2021 with the Royals organization.
Perkins, still just 25, was the 69th overall pick (nice) out of high school back in 2015, and is coming off another rough go of it at Double-A Northwest Arkansas, overshadowed by some huge names and breakouts in KC’s farm system.
Now, he’s got an under-the-radar chance to get right in a Yankees farm system that’s rejuvenated many names over the past few years. Attack strikes, Blake!
Yankees give minor-league contract to five-tool OF Blake Perkins
Now, in the case of Perkins, the Yankees really have a lot of unlocking to do, as the pre-draft hype has never matched the production. Not even once.
Additionally, minor-league hitting guru Dillon Lawson has now been hired as the Yankees’ new hitting coach, leaving a void to be filled by his disciples. We’re not expecting a massive downturn in minor-league production, but it merits mentioning.
Perkins was a stolen base accumulator during his first several seasons in the minors, racking up 31, 29 and 22 from 2017-2019. Somehow, he posted just nine in his return to the diamond in 2021; we’d love to see that number tick up as he tries to escalate his batting average, too. Never having hit over .255 in a full season, that’s a tall task; but, again, turning around apparent minor-league filler has been one of the Yankees’ best attributes in recent years.
According to the wire, Perkins will be heading to Double-A Somerset to start the season, where he’ll be able to lay down a path for switch-hitting Jasson Dominguez to replicate.
The tools have always been there, but two different systems have been trying unsuccessfully for six years to unlock the box.
Perhaps the Yankees will be the ones to succeed.