The Yankees have acquired left-handed hitting outfielder Mike Tauchman from the Rockies for lefty relief prospect Phil Diehl, the team announced. Jordan Montgomery was placed on the 60-day injured list to clear a 40-man roster spot. Tauchman has a minor league option remaining for 2019.
“We’re excited to get a guy that we feel is pretty talented and can play multiple positions in the outfield. He has options, so we’ll determine which way we’ll go,” said Aaron Boone to Bryan Hoch, indicating Tauchman may crack the Opening Day roster. Could be bad news for Greg Bird or Tyler Wade.
Tauchman, 28, was a tenth round pick in 2013. He’s a career .153/.265/.203 (17 wRC+) hitter in limited MLB time, and last year he authored a .323/.408/.571 (153 wRC+) line with 20 homers and nearly as many walks (12.7%) as strikeouts (14.9%) in 112 Triple-A games. As Alex Chamberlain wrote recently, last year Tauchman had one of the minors’ best power-contact seasons within the last few years.
Diehl, 24, was the Yankees’ 27th round pick in 2016. He had a breakout season last year, throwing 75.1 relief innings with a 2.51 ERA (2.24 FIP) and 36.2% strikeouts for High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton. I did not rank Diehl among my top 30 prospects. No major scouting publication did either. Boone mentioned Diehl as a young pitcher who impressed him throughout Spring Training.
The Yankees are loaded with pitching in the farm system right now and they’re short on upper level outfielders, so they used a surplus to address a weakness. Also, with the three-batter minimum rule and 28-man September roster limit set to take effect next year, a potential left-on-left matchup guy like Diehl could have a tough time cracking the roster. His usefulness could be a bit limited.