The roster restructuring continues. The New York Yankees began their offseason by releasing six players that had no place on the 2024 roster. The non-tender deadline is set for 6 p.m. ET on Friday, so more subtractions were likely on the way.
We wondered if that group would consist of Kyle Higashioka, Lou Trivino and Jonathan Loaisiga. Jake Bauers was right on the bubble.
Turns out, we got a definitive answer on the bubble option before anything else. Bauers was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday afternoon in exchange for two minor-league outfielders. The move saves the Yankees $1.7 million -- Bauers' projected salary -- on their 2024 payroll.
In the end, the options were: Jake Bauers, last guy on the bench, or, Jake Bauers, off this team. The Yankees opted for the latter and, hat tip, got something in return for an asset that floundered tremendously down the stretch in 2023.
Like we suspected, the Yankees can (and hope, [well we hope!]) to do better. Far too many fringe major leaguers got high-level playing time the last few years, and that's something that needs to stop.
Yankees trade disappointing bench piece to Brewers ahead of non-tender deadline
This isn't necessarily anything against Bauers, either. He's not a natural outfielder, but the Yankees had him log most of his reps out there. In doing so, it diminished his defensive abilities at first base (his natural position), as evidenced when the team finally (and logically) decided to use him there more after Anthony Rizzo's injury.
Then again, Bauers' biggest appeal was his lefty bat. For a short while in New York, he helped carry the offense. He was running into pitches and helping set the table. By the time the year ended, though, Bauers finished with a .693 OPS and 87 OPS+ in 84 games. He suffered a couple of injuries and struck out 35% of the time. It was no longer tenable. He became an eyesore, much like everybody else.
Getting anything for Bauers feels like a coup, regardless of the eventual outcome. He was poised to get non-tendered or be a limited factor in 2024.
As for Avina and Sanchez? We'll keep you posted in a few years when we drop "Revisiting the Jake Bauers trade between the Yankees and Brewers."