Yankees Bring Back Mendoza, Valdez

The handy dandy Baseball America transactions page reports that the New York Yankees have re-signed INF Carlos Mendoza and P Jose Valdez, as well as re-signing C Ben Blumenthal and signing former big league OF Justin Leone.

mendy

Carlos Mendoza: The 29-year-old Venezuela native will be heading into his fourth season in the Yankees organization, and will likely be spending his third season in Trenton.

Looked up to by the Latin players, Mendy saw very limited playing time with the Thunder last season due to injuries and occasionally simply being the odd man out.  The utility infielder brings solid defense and an adequate bat to Waterfront Park, although his speed seems to have diminished and he never really had a lot of power to begin with.

valdez

Jose Valdez: The tall and lanky Dominican has been in the Yankees farm system since 2001, and has made a very, very slow trek through the system.  Last year was his first stint in Double-A, and he handled himself quite well, going 1-0 with a 2.22 ERA and four saves.  He also walked just seven batters, compared to 23 strikeouts, and held opposing batters to just a .195 average.

However, he’s listed as being 185 pounds, and I’d have to imagine he was holding some weights at the time he stepped on the scale.  He has a very small frame that seems to have little room for addition, and putting on a few pounds certainly wouldn’t hurt him.

Ben Blumenthal: Blumenthal has spent the past two seasons in the Yankees organization, and has amassed a grand total of 132 at-bats in the process.  He split last season between Staten Island and Tampa, and is a career .241 hitter between his time with the Yankees and Reds systems.

I’d have to imagine that Blumenthal would be a likely candidate to fill the J.T. LaFountain/Eladio Rodriguez/Jason Brown role as an organizational depth guy who can go wherever a catcher is needed.

Justin Leone: Leone will be 32 years old when the season gets underway, and is somewhat of a curious signing.  He reminds me of an older version of Shawn Garrett, one of those minor league veteran guys with some pop who generally do pretty well at the minor league level…but also one of those guys that the Yankees seem to get rid of pretty quickly…see: Garrett.

Leone has 32 games of big league experience under his belt with both the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres, and spent last season in Triple-A with the Giants organization.  He’s hit 85 home runs over his past five Triple-A seasons, and seems destined to head to Scranton in 2009.  He primarily played in the outfield last season, but has also played quite a bit of third base in the past as well. 

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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