Pair of Yankees recent intriguing DFAs clear waivers, return to Triple-A

Los Angeles Dodgers v Cleveland Guardians
Los Angeles Dodgers v Cleveland Guardians / Ron Schwane/GettyImages

The New York Yankees managed to keep two of the three players who were recently lopped off the 40-man roster in order to make the signings of Marcus Stroman, Luke Weaver and Diego Castillo available. Luckily, the two players who weren't claimed are probably the ones you were more familiar with and intrigued by.

Both Oscar González and Jeter Downs returned to the Yankees' organization on Wednesday, clearing waivers in a stroke of luck similar to when Estevan Florial was sent packing for Franchy Cordero last spring. That allowed Florial to rebuild his value at Triple-A, receive some desperation reps down the stretch, and ultimately be traded to the Guardians this winter.

Downs and González will begin the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, pending a run of poor injury luck (duh), while Bubba Thompson, also recently cut, will join the Minnesota Twins instead. Thompson, a speed demon, as the kind of elite singular skill that Minnesota was willing to use a 40-man roster spot on. The other two guys? They'll stick, for now, as Yankees depth pieces.

Yankees bring Oscar González, Jeter Downs back after recent DFAs

Best of both worlds!

González, a righty masher who better fit the Yankees' pre-Soto/Verdugo/Grisham plan than their new one, will look to maintain the stroke he showed off in Triple-A last year rather than the one he brought to the majors. He's a defensive liability (-1.4 bWAR in 2023), but hit .287 with 13 homers at Columbus, and did thrive at the MLB level in 2022 (125 OPS+, postseason walkoffs you may recall).

Downs, whose "era" was seemingly ended five days ago in favor of a more versatile player, will get a second chance to reestablish his value and live out a parallel journey to his namesake. It always felt like it'd be fun to keep the former Red Sox top prospect/another third of the Mookie Betts trade return (alongside Alex Verdugo) in the system, and the Yankees will get that chance.

Thompson? He's a former top prospect, too, and will more than likely be a pinch-running outfield option for the Twins (who could relieve Byron Buxton) right out of the gate. Wish him well, but two out of three ain't bad and has never been bad.