When Greg Bird went down with a torn labrum to end his 2016 season, the Yankees were in need of minor league depth, at a minimum, for first base. Late Sunday night, the team countered by signing former Oriole, Chris Parmelee with an invitation to spring training.
The 27-year-old is not another Bird, and is not a long-term solution for the Yankees, but he should provide veteran depth necessary in the event Mark Teixeira finds the disabled list for the fifth consecutive year.
Parmelee hit just .216/.255 with four home runs in 102 plate appearances for the Orioles last season and a .707 OPS in just over 1,000 major league at bats. No longer considered a prospect and certainly not starting material, Parmelee will likely stay in AAA Scranton until a major league need arises.
It’s an interesting signing as the Yankees stayed committed to inking a player who would not require a Major League contract or multiple years, likely ruling out Pedro Alvarez or Juan Uribe. Parmelee is a left-handed hitter so that wouldn’t have been a reason to sign him over Alvarez, who also hits lefty. New York likely is hinging on the fact Parmelee will be able to transfer some of his solid minor league numbers to the majors for a short period of time and has made no real commitment in taking the risk. Because of this, Bird won’t have to worry about anyone acting as competition in 2017, the Yankees have someone capable in 2016 and Parmelee can also play right field.
If two of: Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, Alex Rodriguez or Carlos Beltran go down, which would be unlucky but not unrealistic, Parmelee would likely be the first one up since he can fill in at outfield and spell Teixeira at first base even with Aaron Hicks playing everyday.