Yankees Expected to Trade Deadline Targeting Bullpen Depth

Although the MLB trade deadline of July 30 is still more than two months away, it’s never too early to begin making plans for trades and acquisitions for teams who want to compete. The New York Yankees have high expectations for 2024 after winning an AL Championship for 14 straight seasons, and any perceived weak places on their roster should be filled by the deadline, if not earlier. In the coming months, the Yankees will probably focus on relief pitching, according to Jim Bowden of The Athletics.

The Yankees don’t currently have any pressing requirements, but Bowden noted that the bullpen needs to be deeper at all times, particularly in the final two months of the season. “The Yankees could target a number of underappreciated relievers from non-contending clubs, such as Dylan Floro (0.38 ERA), Derek Law (2.76 ERA) of the Nationals, and JoJo Romero (1.42 ERA) of the Cardinals. However, A’s righties Austin Adams and Lucas Erceg, who have excelled in setup situations for closer Mason Miller, are my two top targets for them.

The Yankees are leading the AL East with a record of 35-17 two months into the 2024 season, with the Baltimore Orioles behind them by 3.5 games at 29-18.

The Yankees’ bullpen is still going strong in their campaign.

With a cumulative ERA of 2.93 as of May 23, the Yankees’ bullpen is second in MLB only to the Cleveland Guardians (2.52 ERA). The Yankees have had excellent relief pitching all season long despite suffering a bad run of injuries. However, with Tommy Kahnle’s flawless inning in his season debut and his eventual reinstatement from the injured list, the team’s relief pitching may have only just begun. With a 1.74 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 23 strikeouts in 20.2 innings pitched this season, Clay Holmes has rapidly become one of the MLB’s most potent closers. Having closed 13 of 15 opportunities, he has the second-highest save total in the American League, only surpassed by the Guardians Emmanuel Clase (14 saves).

Not all of the pitchers in New York’s bullpen are performing well this year, including Holmes. After 30.1 innings, Luke Weaver has a 2.37 ERA, Nick Burdi has a 1.86 ERA, and Victor González has a 2.30 ERA after 15.2 innings. Even the bullpen’s most reliable pitchers, Dennis Santana (5.03 ERA) and Caleb Ferguson (5.29 ERA), have struggled with command more than any other pitcher.

After beginning the season on the injured list due to a shoulder issue, Kahnle’s comeback could increase the bullpen’s already remarkable output.

Is Another Reliever Necessary for the Yankees?

It’s understandable why the Yankees would want to add depth despite the bullpen’s strong performance thus far this season, particularly in light of their injury concerns. Jonathan Loáisiga’s season came to an end in 2024 when he sustained a torn UCL and had Tommy John surgery following three scoreless appearances this season. Both Scott Effross, who had back surgery in December 2023, and Lou Trivino, who had UCL surgery in May 2023, have not yet made their season debuts. Kahnle, on the other hand, made his first appearance on May 23 following several months on the injured list because of a shoulder. In April, right hip irritation also sidelined Nick Burdi for a few weeks for the Yankees.

That just applies to the bullpen. Injuries have also befallen the Yankees starting rotation, with ace Gerrit Cole out with edema and inflammation in his elbows. As Bowden indicated, the Yankees would probably prioritize adding at least one more healthy bullpen arm because they have their sights set on a deep postseason run. It remains to be seen if the organization waits until the deadline or makes an early acquisition of a premier reliever.

Written by schooleiwa

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