Hoffmann goes to Yanks in Rule 5 Draft
Nationals send first pick to NY to complete Bruney trade
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Yankees have discussed outfielder Jamie Hoffmann internally for some time, and now they will have their chance to see more of the big-bodied prospect up close and in pinstripes.
New York acquired the former Dodgers prospect from the Nationals on Thursday after he was selected as the first overall pick in the Rule 5 Draft, shipped to the Yankees to complete Monday's trade for reliever Brian Bruney.
"We'll see where it takes us," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "We feel [Hoffmann's] got great makeup, he's got ability, and we project him in the future as an everyday type player. It will be interesting to see how he mixes in."
Hoffmann, 25, split most of this season between Triple-A Albuquerque and Double-A Chattanooga, batting .291 (104-for-358) with 69 runs, 23 doubles, five triples, 10 home runs, 64 RBIs, 15 stolen bases, 54 walks and a .390 on-base percentage.
He made his Major League debut in 2009, batting .182 (4-for-22) with one home run and seven RBIs in 14 games.
Cashman said that the Yankees will take a look at Hoffmann in Spring Training as a contender to stick on manager Joe Girardi's roster as a backup outfielder capable of playing all three positions.
"In our roster situation where we're at in terms of competing, he's a guy that we're hoping can be No. 25 on this roster and give Joe some choices," Cashman said.
"He's the type of guy that when he shows up in Spring Training and puts on that uniform, he looks the part. He's that type of physical guy. Now obviously since he's ours, we're going to learn more about him."
With Curtis Granderson officially installed on Wednesday in a three-team, seven-player trade, the Yankees are adding Hoffmann to a mix that includes Melky Cabrera, Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher. Teams have reportedly shown interest in dealing for Cabrera or Gardner.
Hoffmann has a hockey background, having been an eighth-round selection of the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes before signing with the Dodgers in 2003 as a Minor League free agent. He entered each of the past four seasons (2006-09) rated by Baseball America as the "Best Defensive Outfielder" in the Dodgers' Minor League system.
As a Rule 5 pick, the Yankees must keep Hoffmann on the 25-man Major League roster all season or return him to the Dodgers for half of the $50,000 selection fee, assuming Hoffmann would pass through waivers.
The Yankees had two players selected by other teams in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft -- left-hander Zach Kroenke, who went to the D-backs with the sixth pick, and right-hander Kanekoa Texeira, who went to Seattle with the 14th pick.
Cashman said that there was no truth to rumors that the Yankees considered telling the Nationals to select Kroenke to keep him, noting that if that were the case, the Yankees would have just dropped Bruney and protected Kroenke. Losing the two players was not surprising to Cashman, who said that he thought the Yankees might lose more.
"You wrestle with what you do on that stuff, but there's only so many guys you can protect," he said.
New York did not select any players, and the Yankees' 40-man roster now stands at 37 players.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.