The Yankees collected the second infinity stone of their recent attempt to recreate the Mookie Betts trade from scratch on Tuesday, swiping up recently DFA'd infielder Jeter Downs two weeks after acquiring outfielder Alex Verdugo from Boston. That means, if they deal for Connor Wong, somehow acquire Betts and Brusdar Graterol, add Kenta Maeda, and coax David Price out of retirement, they'll have collected them all (before DFAing Wong and Downs minutes later).
Downs' first name was inspired by the Yankees' captain. His first career home run came off Yankees' ace Gerrit Cole. And the first blockbuster trade he ever participated in ruined the Yankees' rival. This guy simply bleeds pinstripes.
Unfortunately, though, that doesn't mean his Yankees future is secure. His place on the 40-man roster is extremely tenuous, and after being added as infield depth, he hopped Estevan Florial in line as the likeliest cut the next time the Yanks need some space. He might not be here for a long time, but he's certainly here for a good time, given the amount of laughs and taunting finger points his arrival has already created.
So why not maximize the fun? Because Downs was joined on the open market this offseason by 28-year-old minor-league free agent infielder Joe Dunand, who just so happens to be Alex Rodriguez's nephew. After several difficult years in the minors and a cup of coffee with the Marlins, Dunand broke out at Triple-A Gwinnett in the Braves system last season, posting an .800+ OPS with 17 bombs in 95 games.
As one fan noted, a performance like that calls for a camp battle between two different strands of Yankee DNA.
Yankees should sign A-Rod's nephew to compete with (Derek) Jeter Downs
Two 2004 throwbacks enter, one leaves. Now, fight! No weapons. Only open-palm slaps.
Neither Downs nor a theoretical Dunand addition is likely to factor into the 2024 team's plans, but at the very least the ex-Nat/Red Sox has top-100 prospect pedigree from the era prior to the Betts trade. With Trey Sweeney and Andres Chaparro out of the picture and Oswaldo Cabrera/Oswald Peraza likely to start 2024 in the bigs, the Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders need all the infield depth they can get.
Downs has an option. So do the Yankees. That option? Sign A-Rod's nephew and be cool.