In their latest move to build organizational pitching depth, the Mets have acquired Jordan Yamamoto in exchange for infielder Federico Polanco. Infielder Robel Garcia was designated for assignment to make room for Yamamoto on the 40-man roster.
Yamomoto was originally drafted by the Brewers in 2014 before being traded to Miami as part of the Christian Yelich trade. He debuted in 2019 and showed some promise, striking out more than a batter per inning and running an ERA in the mid-4s despite posting a BB/9 over four. His 2020 was a disaster - an 18.26 ERA over three starts - but it was still somewhat surprising to see the Marlins DFA him given his combination of prospect pedigree, youth, and minor league options (one remaining). It’s possible the Mets snagged an appealing long term piece here, though a depth starter or long reliever limited by his fastball velocity and command issues is the more likely outcome.
In terms of what they gave up, the cost for the Mets is pretty minimal. Signed to a $325,000 bonus during the 2017 J2 period, Polanco is a cousin of top prospect Ronny Mauricio. He’s skinny and projectable with some contact skills, and has a chance to stick as an offensively oriented second baseman. That said, he’s 19 and hasn’t appeared outside the DSL, nor has he cracked the top-25 prospects in what is a very weak system. It’s close to a total lottery ticket and a fine piece to give up for a young, major-league-ready starter with some upside.