Friday, March 4, 2016

Meet a Prospect: Chris Denorfia

The New York Yankees need another outfielder in the organization like they need another hole in the head but that didn’t stop the team from making another minor league signing this week for one. This time the Yankees added outfielder Chris Denorfia on a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training this week so we’ll introduce him to the Yankees family the only way that we know how. This is Meet a Prospect: The Chris Denorfia Edition.

Christopher Anthony Denorfia was born on July 15, 1980 and if he makes the New York Yankees he will be playing for his sixth MLB franchise during his career. Denorfia’s amateur career began in Connecticut where he was born and attended Choate Rosemary Hall High School. Denorfia played second base and shortstop in high school until moving to the outfield in college at Wheaton College where he caught the attention of MLB scouts. Denorfia hit .467 in his senior year and did enough for the Cincinnati Reds to come calling with the 19th pick in the 2002 MLB First Year Players Draft.

Denorfia toiled around the minor leagues until reaching the Major Leagues as a September call up in 2005 with the Reds. Denorfia stuck around for the month of September and for 49 games in 2006 as he bounced around between Triple-A and Cincinnati before having Tommy John surgery on his elbow in 2007 costing him a year of development. While rehabbing from the surgery he was traded to the Oakland Athletics for Marcus McBeth, Ben Jukich and cash considerations despite missing the entire season. Denorfia was back in 2008 and even made the A’s Opening Day roster as a center fielder before a back injured derailed his season in early May. Denorfia did not return to the majors that season until rosters expanded again in September of 2008 getting just 62 at-bats for the A’s. Denorfia only played in four games for the big league A’s in 2009 before the team decided to remove him from their 40-man roster at the end of the season. Denorfia was a free agent for the first time in his career.

In December of 2009 Denorfia signed a minor league deal with the San Diego Padres and much like with his current Yankees deal he received an invitation to spring training camp. Denorfia did not make the team out of camp and was once again optioned to Triple-A but he was not down for long as the Padres called him in on May, 17 of that season to replace an injured Scott Hairston. Denorfia remained with the Padres for the remainder of the season and finished the season with a .271 average with nine home runs in 44 games. Denorfia remained with the Padres for the 2011 season after signing a new one-year deal and for the first time Denorfia got a full season to prove himself playing in 111 games for San Diego. Denorfia signed a similar one-year deal for the 2012 season as well with the Padres and played in a whopping 130 games that got him an extension with San Diego through the 2014 season. Finally some security for Denorfia.

Denorfia rewarded San Diego once again for their patience with him in 2013 playing in 144 games and by putting up a .279/.337/.395 triple slash. Denorfia also won the Padres Defensive Player of the Year Award and the team’s Heart & Hustle Award for the month of September leaving his mark in Padres history. Denorfia was traded to the Seattle Mariners on July 31, 2014 for minor league outfielder Abraham Almonte and pitcher Stephen Kohlscheen ending his tenure in San Diego and ending his tenure of hitting inside Petco Park.

Denorfia signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Cubs for the 2015 season before coming to New York for the 2016 season. Denorfia has represented Team Italy in the 2009 and 2013 World Baseball Classic and will now represent, in my very bias yet humble opinion, the greatest MLB franchise this world has ever seen. Welcome to the team Chris and more importantly, welcome to the family. 

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)