On a day when the baseball world awaits the iron hammer of Shohei Ohtani's decision, the Yankees have made a valiant attempt to steal the headlines.
Last summer, the Yankees chose to promote journeyman (and member of the Aroldis Chapman-Cubs trade) Billy McKinney over Estevan Florial when the team was in desperate need of outfield help. Florial had rebounded tremendously after being passed over and offered up to the rest of the league on waivers in April. McKinney? Sure, he'd been solid. But wasn't he a known quantity?
Somewhat inexplicably, the Yankees were immediately proven right, as McKinney rose and raked, carrying the offense through June with an .869 OPS and four bombs. It didn't last -- and a foot injury suffered on a foul ball in St. Louis might've had something to do with it -- but the lefty's time in the Bronx was objectively a success. He was an inevitable roster casualty when the season ended, despite a 98 OPS+ in limited duty, roughly the same production Alex Verdugo provided in a full season with the Red Sox in 2023.
McKinney admitted, during his hot June, that he hoped he'd found a "home" in the Bronx. So it should come as no surprise he re-signed on Friday, along with lefty Anthony Misiewicz, who was non-tendered three weeks ago. Both will presumably report to Triple-A Scranton.
Yankees sign Billy McKinney, Anthony Misiewicz to minor-league deals
Misiewicz is best known for being struck by a 100+ MPH line drive during a meaningless, late-season game in Pittsburgh last September. He was also a part of the quartet of journeymen relievers who secured a doubleheader sweep at Fenway Park to essentially close the book on Boston's playoff chances; no word yet on whether Zach McAllister or Matt Bowman will also be returning to the Yankees.
McKinney, a former top-100 prospect who's struggled to latch onto a big-league role despite stints in New York (Mets and Yankees), Toronto, Milwaukee, Los Angeles, and Oakland, will serve as Triple-A depth for the Yanks once again in 2024. Laugh all you want, but he was by far the most competent of all the team's wild outfield swings, and there's always a chance he'll impact the big-league roster again.