Yankees agree with outfielder Rafael Ortega Complete Baseball News (twitter link). The veteran will likely attend the big league camp as an off-roster invitee to spring training.
Ortega, 31, is heading to the Bronx after two years as a Cub. Signing his league contract as a minor in the 2020-21 offseason, he cracked his league roster big in late May 2021. 349 batting average underpinned these impressive results, but Ortega showed enough strength to keep his spot on the roster throughout the offseason.
Ortega, a left-handed hitter, isn’t expected to fully sustain production in 2021, but he’s also had a solid year. He appeared in a career-high 118 games last season and recorded 371 trips. Ortega’s .241/.331/.358 batting average is slightly worse than the league average. He didn’t make much of an impact from a power standpoint, just below average with a hard 33.5% of his contact percentage he was hitting only 7 home runs. Still, he scored constant overtime runs at the top of Chicago’s lineup thanks to his quality strikeout and walk marks. He pulled his passes in the free with his 11.9% clip very strong against his modest 19.9% strikeout rate, and his on-base percentage was nearly 20 his points higher than the league average. .
Despite a decent two-year run, Ortega has been unable to maintain his place on Chicago’s roster this time around. The Cubs did not bid on him rather than retain him with an arbitration salary estimated at $1.7 million. Unable to find a big league deal in free agency, he must work his way back up to the MLB roster to emerge at the highest level in his seventh season.
Ortega has plenty of experience in all three outfield positions. Public metrics rate him as a slightly below-average center fielder, but in the corners he performs solidly. The Yankees are asking questions in left field. Aaron Hicks When Oswald Cabrera It seems to be the current favorite for playtime. Aaron Judge When Harrison Bader Locked in two other outfield spots if healthy, Ortega profiles him as a quality depth option if he misses time before Vader or one of the other outfielders gets injured. .