Yankees sign utility man who they once clobbered as a pitcher to minor-league deal

Pittsburgh Pirates v Miami Marlins
Pittsburgh Pirates v Miami Marlins / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

Can't say we had any "Yankees-Josh VanMeter Interest" atop our big board on this beautiful Wednesday morning, but sometimes, life hands you lemons, and sometimes, it hands you utility men with a career .206 average and negative bWAR.

VanMeter last spent big-league time with the 2022 Pirates, hitting .187 with a .558 OPS in ample chances across 67 games. While he's logged time at second base and left field during his career, which took him from the Reds to the D-Backs to the Bucs, Yankee fans will be far more familiar with his time on the mound in '22.

On July 6, VanMeter went one inning of mopup duty in what quickly became a blowout, losing streak-busting 16-0 Yankees win. A good deal of that offensive progress was fueled by the slop-tossing right-hander, who allowed eight earned runs, kicked off by a pair of homers surrendered to Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Hicks.

Yankees sign Josh VanMeter (former Reds IF) to minor-league deal

If things really break down at the big-league level, the Yankees might've found their utility panic call-up of the future. In terms of inking former Reds to unlikely-to-materialize deals, though, this one pales in comparison to Derek Dietrich.

One thing VanMeter does have going for him? His nickname is "Meat Sauce," which might help Anthony Volpe get out of a summer slump. Either that, or his BP fastballs will catalyze Volpe's swing.

In 2023, VanMeter spent the season mostly in Nashville with the Sounds, Milwaukee's Triple-A affiliate. In 46 games, he hit .199 with a .400 OBP, and we have many, many questions about which shenanigans made that possible.

Don't expect the soon-to-be 29-year-old infielder to make as much of an impact as he did during his rookie campaign, when he hit .237 with a .735 OPS in 95 games in Cincinnati. But anticipate a spring training invite, as well as some early-game reps to see if the Yankees might have another lefty utility man on their hands to fill the Marwin Gonzalez role (which is for sure a necessary role).