MLB insider shuts down Yankees’ rumored interest on top bullpen free agent

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In recent weeks, both Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman and Manager Aaron Boone have shared a consistent message: they are actively exploring the market for opportunities to bolster their roster this off-season. Their focus remains on adding talent, with no potential acquisition being ruled out. Recently, their interest seems to have turned towards veteran relief pitcher Hector Neris.

Assessing the Prospect of Signing Hector Neris

Hector Neris is seeking a contract of at least two years, with an annual salary exceeding $7 million. This demand comes after he declined an $8.5 million player option for the 2024 season. However, at 34 years old, Neris presents a risky investment. Despite his 14.1 innings of postseason experience, his performance metrics don’t provide a strong case for such a significant financial commitment.

The Yankees would be buying high on Neris, whose ERA hadn’t dipped below 3.00 since 2019. Yet, in the 2023 season, he recorded a career-best 1.71 ERA over 68.1 innings. While it’s smart for Neris to capitalize on this recent success, investing over $7 million annually in a 34-year-old pitcher could be precarious.

Cashman has historically been hesitant to award substantial contracts to players over 30, a policy evident in his dealings with Jordan Montgomery and Blake Snell.

Given Pitching Coach Matt Blake’s success with developing lesser-known arms in the bullpen, pursuing an expensive deal with Neris might be unwise. An alternative option could be David Robertson, who has had two strong seasons and might be available for a more affordable one-year contract.

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Exploring Other Bullpen Options for the Yankees

However, as per Jack Curry of the YES Network, the Yankees’ interest in Neris might not be as strong as reported. He suggests that the team is more likely considering a reunion with either Wandy Peralta or Keynan Middleton.

Peralta, a proficient left-hander, has already established himself with the Yankees, bringing valuable experience to the team.

On the other hand, Middleton, acquired from the Chicago White Sox last summer, showcased his capabilities after joining the Yankees.

At 30 years old, he achieved a 3.38 ERA overall and an impressive 1.88 ERA over 14.1 innings with the Yankees. Given his effective performance post-trade, a cost-effective deal for the 2024 season could be a viable option for the Yankees’ bullpen.