4 former Yankees failing miserably with their new teams in 2023
By Adam Weinrib
This one's sad, simply because the hometown Bronx kid showing out and flashing the leather/occasional clutch hit was one of the only things that made 2021 fun. All in all, there were more stunningly low lows in '21 than there were memorable highs, from the catastrophic blown games in Boston and Houston to the Joey Gallo trade to the Wild Card Game thud. But Velazquez rapping his first MLB home run into the short porch and showing off his glovework ... worked. It worked so well that the Yankees ultimately started him at short in their one-game playoff appearance, which was indicative of roster mismanagement, but ... kind of, sort of felt right until it wasn't.
The argument can definitely be made that the Yankees should've brought him back for pennies and used him to back up Oswald Peraza, rather than paying Josh Donaldson's salary to secure Isiah Kiner-Falefa, but that's neither here nor there.
Now in Anaheim, one year after Velazquez played in 125 games and hit nine homers (and batted .196), hotshot rookie Zach Neto has grabbed the starting role and is unlikely to let go of it. That's left Velazquez in Triple-A Salt Lake with the Bees, where he's continued to swing an untenable stick. The 28-year-old has started the year 10-for-57 (.175) with two homers and five stolen bases.
Again ... he used to make things happen in New York, which is also where he seemed most comfortable. It would probably be more satisfying to have him occupy the last roster spot on the Yankees' bench/play the occasional center field that IKF's currently attempting. Alas, he's stuck in Salt Lake.