MLB rumors: Yankees pass on potential outfield upgrade available on waivers

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New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman had a chance to get something for nothing, and still said no.

MLB Trade Rumors reports Detroit Tigers outfielder JaCoby Jones cleared waivers and has been sent outright to Triple-A Toledo. In doing so, Detroit removed Jones from its 40-man roster.

As a player with three-plus years of service who has been outrighted from the 40-man roster, he’ll be able to become a free agent at season’s end (unless he’s selected back to Majors and finishes the year on their 40-man roster).

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The Yankees have been desperate for an everyday center fielder since losing Aaron Hicks to a wrist injury. Early on, Jones was rumored to be a potential Hicks replacement in New York. But Jones has struggled massively at the plate this year, hitting .170 in 36 games. The Tigers finally cried uncle last week and designated him for assignment.

According to MLB Trade Rumors, “any team that (claimed) Jones off waivers would (have assumed) the remaining portion of his $2.65 million salary (approximately $1.7 million).” And that was the likely breaking point for Cashman, who’s tasked with keeping the team payroll under the luxury tax threshold.

Is $1.7 million a drop in the bucket for a team worth $5 billion? And if so, is it worth taking a chance on a player like Jones who has everyday potential? Sure. But given Jones’ well-documented struggles this year, and with the Yankees’ roster already stacked with underperforming outfielders, Cashman decided his resources could be put to better use elsewhere.

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Mike Rosenstein may be reached at mrosenstein@njadvancemedia.com. Tell us your coronavirus story or send a tip here.

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