The Yankees just confirmed in a press release that they have traded for outfielder Greg Golson.
The New York Yankees today acquired outfielder Greg Golson from the Texas Rangers in exchange for minor league infielder Mitch Hilligoss.
Golson, 24, batted .258 (118-for-457) with 27 extra-base hits and 40 RBI in 123 games with Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2009. He is a .263 (674-for-2,558) career minor league hitter with 120 doubles, 36 triples, 48 home runs and 265 RBI in 634 combined games in the Philadelphia Phillies and Rangers minor league systems. Originally selected by Philadelphia in the first round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, he has appeared in seven Major League games, six with Philadelphia in 2008 and one with Texas in 2009, going hitless in seven at-bats and scoring two runs.
Prior to the 2009 season, Baseball America named the Austin, Tex., native as the “Best Athlete,” “Fastest Baserunner” and “Best Outfield Arm” in the Texas organization.
Hilligoss, 24, batted .233 (38-for-163) with seven doubles, two triples and 14 RBI in 51 games with Single-A Tampa in 2009. He is a .275 (387-for-1,406) career minor league hitter with seven home runs and 134 RBI in 367 games. He was selected by the Yankees in the sixth round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.
Golson will be added to the Yankees’ 40-man roster, which now stands at 39 players.
From Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook: “(Golson) has progressed slowly, showing several premium tools but vexing Philadelpiha with his lack of feel for the game… Golson immediately became the best athlete in a Rangers system stocked with good athletes. His plus-plus speed plays very well in center field where he’s a plus defender with excellent range and instincts and a strong arm. Golson also has average power despire a poor contact rate.”
I was covering the Phillies system when they took Golson in the first round of the 2004 draft. He was considered one of the best athletes available, and he made a nice debut in rookie ball, but he didn’t hit above .264 until his third full season. The defense and the speed were as expected, but Golson struck out a ton. He seemed to put some things in order with Double-A Reading in 2008 when he hit .282/.333/.435 — it was the second year in a row he’d shown progress — but after his trade to Texas, Golson fell back to .258/.299/.344 with Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Golson is still just 24 years old, and this is clearly a case of the Yankees hoping the results catch up to the tools. The outfield is very thin in the upper levels of the minor league system, so it makes sense to add a guy like Golson to the mix (especially at the cost of a guy like Hilligoss, who had fallen almost completely off the map).
Because Golson was DFA last week, but traded before he cleared waivers, the Yankees had no choice but to add him to the 40-man roster. That said, he has options remaining, so he’ll most likely open the season in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Golson, Colin Curtis, David Winfree, Reid Gorecki and Jon Weber… that’s a fun-to-follow group for the Triple-A outfield. Pretty young and athletic.