Mat Gamel is back, sort of…Once viewed as the heir apparent to Prince Fielder in Milwaukee, the 29-year-old first baseman has signed a minor league contract with the New York Yankees. Though he has not played in the major leagues since the 2012, the often injured Gamel will look to prove healthy and attempt earn his way back to the big leagues at some point in 2015.
As a .304 career hitter in the minor leagues with good power, Gamel looked to be a future building block in the Brewers’ everyday lineup. His best year came in 2008, when he batted a combined .325 while slugging 20 home runs as he was named Topps Minor League Player of the Year.
But things never panned out in Milwaukee as he was often snake bit by injury. In just over 200 at-bats, Gamel was a .229 career hitter in the major leagues with six home runs and a .691 OPS.
He had a starting job there for the taking two years in a row only to suffer season ending ACL injuries (his first one coming just when things started to click at the major league level). Then after leaving the Brewers, he had the same injury happen for a third time in spring training of 2014, as a member of the Atlanta Braves. His career looked to be finished.
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If anything, this signing shows the resiliency of Gamel as he looks to make it back on a major league roster. With plenty of talent already at first base on the roster in New York, Gamel is expected to see a majority of time in AAA this season. It was hard to see him go down year after year with such a golden opportunity in front of him in Milwaukee. I wish him the best of luck as he looks to make his way back to the major leagues.