King’s injury forces the Yankees to go to the reliever market: here are some options

Andres Chavez
New York Yankees, Michael King
Sep 4, 2020; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Michael King (73) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

After losing star reliever Michael King to a fractured elbow that will very likely end his season, the New York Yankees are now forced to go to the trade market to try and bring in an impactful bullpen piece or two.

King, who felt a pop in his elbow during Friday night’s game against the Baltimore Orioles, was a big part of the Yankees’ success this season, as he had a 2.29 ERA, a 2.23 FIP and 11.65 strikeouts per nine innings in 51 frames. He was third in MLB among relievers with 1.7 WAR.

The Yankees’ bullpen has suffered several injuries this year: Chad Green is also lost for the season, Aroldis Chapman and Jonathan Loaisiga recently came back from different ailments and are yet to return to form, and Zack Britton hasn’t pitched all year. Ron Marinaccio, currently on a rehab assignment, should return soon.

With all those absences and the current situation with Loaisiga and Chapman, the Yankees’ bullpen is suddenly in shambles.

That’s why they badly need to go to the trade market and acquire a few bullpen arms. There are several options: Andrew Chafin of the Detroit Tigers could be a rental (he has an opt-out in his two-year deal), and that scenario could make sense.

More options for the Yankees

Anthony Bass of the Miami Marlins has a 1.33 ERA in 40.2 innings so far, and the Yankees have a history of making good deals with the fish. Scott Effross of the Chicago Cubs has a 2.95 ERA and an impressive 1.98 FIP, and is a side-armer with a nasty slider-sinker combo that would fit well in the bullpen.

Of course, a top-notch target would be Pittsburgh Pirates’ All-Star closer David Bednar (2.89 ERA in 43.2 frames), but the bucs may not be willing to talk business. The Baltimore Orioles have Jorge Lopez, Dillon Tate, and a few additional useful relievers, but they may not want to deal within the division.

Veterans such as Chris Martin, David Robertston, and Daniel Bard could also work. There are lots of options, and the Yankees need to make sure they bring at least a couple if they are serious about making a deep playoffs run.