The Rays have acquired left-handed hitting first baseman Mike Ford from the New York Yankees.
Ford has big league experience, having made his Major League debut during the 2019 campaign. A power bat, Ford has since struggled in his limited opportunities with the Yankees between 2020 and 2021, batting around .130 on average with only 5 home runs in about as many opportunities as his breakout season.
Originally signed as an undrafted free agent following the 2013 draft, Ford slowly worked his way through the Yankees system, and was notably selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 2017 Rule 5 draft, although he was returned to the Yankees in spring training.
The 28-year old Ford was designated for assignment on June 12 in a fall from grace after a strong 2019 season, when he hit 12 homeruns with a 134 wRC+ over 50 games.
Ford immediately slots in as depth for Ji-Man Choi, who has been injured multiple times this season, as he has two options remaining on his rookie contract and can be sent to Durham.
Prior to Ford’s acquisition, the Rays did not have a left handed hitting first basemen on the 40-man roster in the minors, although Tristan Gray (62 wRC+ in Triple-A) and Dalton Kelly (111 wRC+) are capable of manning the position and are both on the Bulls roster. Ford must represent more of a known major league batted ball profile.
The Rays have officially announced the move, optioning Ford to Triple-A, where it will be interesting to see if the Rays try Ford at third base during his time in Durham. Ford does not flash much in the way of sprint speed, but there may be some flexibility in his glove.
In a corresponding move, Tyler Glasnow has been transferred to the 60-Day IL, as he’ll be out indefinitely with multiple arm injuries following his attempt to align with MLB’s rule enforcement change for pitchers this month.