Welcome back, Tim Locastro. In case you don’t recall, the Yankees previously traded for the now-28 year-old outfielder in November 2018, only to send him to Arizona a few months later. He returns to New York as added outfield depth, essentially filling Mike Tauchman’s vacated spot. In return, the Yankees sent minor league reliever Keegan Curtis to Arizona.
Locastro’s hitting a paltry .178/.271/.220 (44 wRC+) in 133 plate appearances this season and has five steals in eight attempts. He had been much better offensively in his previous to years with the Snakes: .260/.367/.370 (101 wRC+) in 332 plate appearances from 2019 through 2020, including a perfect 21-for-21 in attempted steals. He won’t walk much, but he won’t strike out much either. What he will do a lot is run, if you couldn’t tell from the stolen bases already. He’s been in the 100th percentile in sprint speed since 2019.
Even though Locastro is a right-handed hitter, he actually has a reverse-platoon split. The Yanks may try him in a platoon with Brett Gardner in center field anyway, considering how awful Gardy has been against southpaws in recent years. Speaking of center field, defensive metrics are mixed on Locastro’s ability in spite of his speed.
Locastro does have a minor league option remaining, so it’s not clear whether or not he’ll report to the majors immediately. If he does, he could replace either Clint Frazier or Miguel Andújar on the roster. Perhaps Tyler Wade if the team wants to use Gio Urshela as the backup shortstop once more. And no, before you ask, I don’t think this is the move that finally gets Rougned Odor out of here. Additionally, the Yankees have an open spot on the 40-man roster, so no additional transaction will be necessary to add Locastro.
Curtis, 25, was the Yankees’ 22nd round pick in 2018 and is Rule 5 eligible this winter. He’s posted an impressive 39.1 percent strikeout rate in Double-A Somerset’s bullpen, though he struggles with control (10.1 percent walk rate) and is a reliever-only profile.