Mat Gamel to Attempt Comeback with Yankees


The New York Yankees made an interesting signing on Friday. Jason Evans of Yanks Go Yard reports that the Bronx Bombers brought in corner infielder Mat Gamel on a minor league deal. Perhaps they are trying to make it a family affair, as Mat’s younger brother, Ben Gamel, is a minor league All Star in the Yankees system.

Gamel is a former fourth draft pick by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2005. The left handed third baseman was a minor league star before breaking into the bigs with the Brewers in 2008. Gamel never played a full season in the bigs before knee injuries began to take his career away from him. He last appeared in the Major Leagues in 2012 and hasn’t appeared since after two ACL tears and corresponding surgeries all but ended his career. Gamel finished with a career .229/.305/.367 slash line and six home runs over five years and 106 big league games.

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While minor league signings come with little risk and high reward should the veteran bounce back and make the squad, this one is a bit peculiar. There is seemingly no room for Gamel on the Yankees big league roster, and their minor league squads also appears to be set with organizational depth.

Gamel can’t be assumed to play third base any longer as his range and agility is expected to be compromised after multiple surgeries and being two years removed from the game. The Yankees are so deep at first base on the big league level, that they are auditioning Alex Rodriguez to be the backup to the backup in Garrett Jones to Mark Teixeira. Waiting for a big league chance at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre is Kyle Roller and below him at Double-A Trenton is Yankees’ top first base prospect and reigning Arizona Fall League MVP Greg Bird. Where Gamel would fit in is a big question.

Perhaps they gave him a chance because Ben Gamel is in the system. The younger Gamel is coming off his second All Star season in the system and while he is not known for swinging a heavy bat, the Yankees love him for his hard-nosed, all out play. Perhaps they are hoping the elder Gamel will bring the same to their organization.

As with all comebacks, one only hopes for the best outcome. Hopefully, Mat Gamel finds his stroke and the knees hold up and he can break the 2015 season as part of the Yankees organization. Whether he serves as a back up to Kyle Roller at Triple-A or platoons as a designated hitter, Gamel would cherish the opportunity just to swing a bat against live pitching again.

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