The Yankees and their AL East Rival Tampa Bay Rays made a rare trade on Thursday when the Yankees sent first baseman Mike Ford to the Rays for cash considerations and a player to be named later.
Ford was initially signed by the Yankees in July 201 as a free agent to a minor league contract. He was with the organization’s minor league affiliates until March 2017 when he got his call up to the majors, but was quickly returned to Trenton in April 2017.
In December 2014, the Seattle Mariners claimed Ford off waivers from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before being returned to the Yankees from Seattle in March of 2018.
On April 16, 2019, the Yankees selected Ford’s contract from Scranton. He made his MLB debut with the Yankees on March 18, 2019.
August 3, 2019 is when Ford would have his breakout season and spend more time in the big leagues. He would stay with the Yankees through that season with a couple stints back in the minor leagues.
At the major league level in 2019, Ford batted .259/.350/.550, with a .909 OPS. He had 37 hits and accumulated 80 total bases. He hit 7 doubles, 12 home runs, had 25 RBI’s and 17 walks. 2019 was the year that many thought that Ford might become the Yankees’ every day first baseman.
Ford’s success would be short-lived as he again struggled in the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season, where he batted just .135/.226/.270, with a .496 OPS, a considerable decrease from 2019. His numbers continued to slip in 2021. Ford has shown struggle at the major league level and in Triple-A. At the major league level, he has batted just .133/.278/.28, with a .561 OPS.
In 2019 with Triple-A Scranton, Ford batted just .083 in seven games with a .207 OBP, and a .083 SLG, with a .290 OPS before being traded to the Rays on Thursday.
Ford will look to get a fresh start with the Rays as he returns to Tampa, FL., where his home stadium will be just a 30 minute drive from where the Yankees held Spring Training. Until he earns his time with the Rays, Ford will be playing with Triple-A Durham. He will join the Durham Bulls on Thursday.