Latest Posts


Players the Yankees Should Target to Bolster their Bullpen

April 10, 2024 sutton56 6 min read

Players the Yankees Should Target to Bolster their Bullpen

April 10, 2024 Ross Sutton 6 min read

By: Ross Sutton

The first few weeks of the regular season have gone as well as just about any Yankee fan could have hoped, as the team is playing a really fun and effective brand of baseball. However, the team’s bullpen is suffering from a lot of injuries, as Tommy Kahnle will be out for another couple of weeks, Scott Effross and Lou Trivino won’t return until the summer (if they return this year), and Jonathan Loaisiga is out for the season. If all three of Kahnle, Effross, and Trivino return before the trade deadline, and the rest of the Yankees bullpen stays healthy and effective, the Yankees might not need to make any additions to their bullpen, but that scenario seems unlikely based on how frequently pitchers are getting hurt across the league and how volatile relief pitcher performance tends to be. Therefore, I think it is likely that the Yankees trade for at least one relief pitcher prior to the trade deadline.

This early in the season, it is rare to see good MLB players be traded, but one can still project which relief pitchers will eventually be available in a trade by projecting which teams will be out of playoff contention in the weeks preceding the trade deadline, as those teams are usually the ones that trade relief pitchers to legitimate playoff contenders. Of the good relief pitchers on bad teams, the ones most likely to be traded are players whose contracts expire in the next year or two, because: (1) relievers are volatile, so bad teams might as well cash in and trade a short term asset for future assets (prospects); and (2) rebuilding teams are usually reluctant to trade good MLB players that are signed for more than two years because they don’t want to “give up” on seasons that they could potentially compete in. So, by finding the good relief pitchers on bad teams whose contracts expire after the 2024 or 2025 seasons, you can determine which relief pitchers will likely be available on the trade market a few months from now once their respective teams are no longer in playoff contention.

Tanner Scott

The team that probably seems most destined to be a seller by the trade deadline is the Miami Marlins, who are off to a terrible 1-11 start to the season. If/when they become willing to trade away some of their big league talent, Tanner Scott would be a good player for the Yankees to target, as he is in the final year of his contract, and he seemed to figure things out last year, when he compiled a 2.31 ERA in 78.0 innings. Scott is a hard thrower, as he averaged 97 mph with his four-seam fastball and 89 mph with his slider in 2023. Scott is a lefty, but has nearly identical numbers against right-handed and left-handed batters, generating ground balls and strikeouts at a high rate, making him a great fit for the Yankees bullpen.

Carlos Estevez

Over the last few years, Estevez has been a very effective reliever, pitching to an ERA+ of 126 since the start of the 2022 season. Estevez throws mostly fastballs and sliders with an occasional changeup, and he has issues walking batters too frequently, but he strikes a lot of players out and generates a good amount of whiffs. Like Tanner Scott, Estevez is on the final year of his contract, and even though the Angels have played fairly well to start the season, I think they will fizzle out and be sellers at the deadline. Scott would be more of a threat to take save opportunities away from Clay Holmes than Estevez would be in my opinion, but Estevez would still be used in a lot of high-leverage situations if traded to the Yankees, thus making him a valuable potential addition.

Luis Garcia

Another trade target from the Angels bullpen is Luis Garcia, whose sinker/slider mix seems like a perfect fit in the Yankees pitching staff, as pitching coach Matt Blake has had a lot of success getting the most out of pitchers with that pitch mix during his tenure. In 2023, Garcia was in the 98th percentile of the league in generating ground balls and in the 85th percentile in average exit velocity, meaning he is forcing hitters to hit a lot of weak ground balls. This makes him a good fit for the Yankees, as they tend to prefer pitchers that generate more ground balls than fly balls due to the favorable hitting dimensions of Yankee Stadium. Garcia was used almost exclusively in late game situations last year, but I think he would be used more as a middle reliever than a set up man for the Yankees. Even if he had a slightly lesser role in the Yankees bullpen compared to how the Angels currently use him, I still think Garcia would be a good addition for New York. If the Angels are truly sellers come the trade deadline, maybe the Yankees would be able to acquire both Estevez and Garcia and solve their bullpen issues with one trade.

Kyle Finnegan

The Nationals are also off to an encouraging start this season, but they are still in rebuild mode, as their roster on paper just does not appear strong enough to contend for a playoff spot right now. However, the Nats have a number of good relief pitchers that I think should be traded at this year’s trade deadline for young prospects. The first Nationals reliever that I will discuss is Kyle Finnegan, who has served as the team’s closer for the last few seasons. Finnegan has been extremely consistent since making his debut in 2020, posting an ERA+ of 118 in 226.2 innings from 2020-2023, while also recording 50 saves. Finnegan is signed via arbitration this year and next, making his contract an asset for any team that acquires him. Despite having such a team-friendly contract, the Nationals might be willing to trade Finnegan since he is almost 33 and probably won’t be a part of the Nationals next good team. Additionally, since Finnegan is under fairly cheap team control through 2025, the Nationals would almost certainly get more in return for Finnegan now than a year from now. Finnegan averages 97 mph with his fastball and 90 mph with his splitter. He generates a lot of ground balls, but he does tend to get hit hard when he allows contact.

Hunter Harvey

Harvey and Finnegan are similar in many respects: they play for the same team, both are signed via arbitration this year and next, and both mostly throw 97 mph fastballs and 90 mph splitters. In my opinion, the main difference between Harvey and Finnegan is that Finnegan has been much more consistent over the last few years, as he has thrown at least 66.0 innings in each of the last three seasons, and has had a season ERA between 3.51 and 3.76 in each of those seasons as well. Harvey, on the other hand, has only thrown more than 40.0 innings once over that same timeframe. Harvey does have a lower career ERA than Finnegan though, and is also three years younger. A majority of the Yankees current relief pitchers will be free agents after this season, so getting a pitcher like Finnegan or Harvey that are signed for next season would be a great addition.

Dylan Floro

The last pitcher that I think could be a good fit for the Yankees bullpen is another Nationals relief pitcher, Dylan Floro. Since 2020, Floro has been a very effective reliever, as he has amassed an ERA+ of 129 over 204.2 innings pitched. Floro features a lot of sinkers and sliders when he pitches, which, as I mentioned earlier, makes him a good fit in the Yankees bullpen under Matt Blake. He struggled a bit last year, finishing the season with a 4.76 ERA in 56.2 innings pitched, but he is off to a good start this year as he has only allowed one earned run in 6.0 innings pitched, so maybe he has regained his form from 2020-2022. I think Floro would be a middle reliever for the Yankees, but maybe the team could acquire Floro in a trade that also sent one of Finnegan or Harvey to New York.

Ross Sutton

University of South Carolina Sport & Entertainment Management and Villanova School of Law graduate.

All posts

No Comments

Leave a Reply

I accept the Privacy Policy * for Click to select the duration you give consent until.

Latest Posts


Nosebleed Gear!