Yankees add to championship core with Wilmer Difo signing


Entering Friday afternoon, most fans and analysts agreed the New York Yankees were just one player short of ranking as a true contender, alongside favorites like the Astros and Mets.

On Friday, they got their man: infielder Wilmer Difo, formerly of the Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Arizona Diamondbacks.

Per FanSided’s MLB insider Robert Murray, Difo will earn $1.2 million if he reaches the MLB roster on a split deal.

And why wouldn’t he reach the majors? The Yankees are getting Difo at his absolute peak, fresh off hitting .000 in six at-bats last season in Arizona.

That’s not the Budweiser Clydesdales you hear behind you, Gleyber Torres. Those are Wilmer Difo’s thunderous footsteps!

Yankees sign utility infielder Wilmer Difo, and that’s obvious

For those who were quick to exile Josh Donaldson after a difficult Year 1 in the Bronx, Difo’s signing should serve as a reminder of exactly which types of alternatives the Yankees appear to be looking at.

The Bombers likely love Difo’s Statcast profile, which registered a maximum exit velocity that puts him in the 13th percentile among all hitters in 2022 (and, remember, that was six at-bats).

Difo’s best full season in the bigs came in 2021 with the Pirates, when he hit .269 and OPS’d .713 in 116 games/219 at-bats. It’s difficult to see where Difo’s at-bats come from as long as DJ LeMahieu is fully healthy and Oswaldo Cabrera, Torres and Donaldson are still on the team in 2023. Surely, though, the Yankees will find a way to shuffle things around. You don’t sign a bat of this caliber just to watch him waste away.

Reportedly, the San Francisco Giants looked into Difo as well, to replace Carlos Correa, but found subtle signs of a bunion from 2002 on his X-Rays and spiked the deal.

The Yankees will be more than happy to take him, as they increased their odds for securing Title No. 28 tremendously when they put pen to paper here. At the very least, they could consider flipping Difo at the trade deadline for someone’s top prospect or a bullpen ace like David Bednar (the Pirates are probably drooling at the chance to get him back).