The Yankees are eyeing 2 bullpen arms as de-facto deadline acquisitions

scott effross, yankees
Aug 20, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Scott Effross (59) pitches the ball against the Toronto Blue Jays during the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees‘ bullpen has experienced some fluctuation recently, sliding from the top-ranked unit in baseball to third-best.

Adjustments in the Yankees’ Bullpen Strategy

Despite this, they remain a formidable group, surpassing expectations and outperforming their modest price tags under the guidance of pitching coach Matt Blake, who boasts a collective ERA of 3.05 for his high-leverage arms. The recent roster adjustments, including the designation of Dennis Santana for assignment and the recall of Ron Marinaccio from Triple-A, aim to inject more efficiency into the bullpen.

Anticipating Reinforcements from Injured Players

The Yanks have chosen not to trade assets to bolster their bullpen but are instead looking forward to the return of two key pitchers from injuries.

Lou Trivino, who missed the entire 2023 season due to Tommy John surgery, had a standout half-season with the Yankees in 2022, posting a 1.66 ERA with notable rates in left-on-base percentage (83.9%) and ground ball rate (51.7%). Known for his sinker-slider combination and occasional cutter, Trivino is expected to be a significant addition to the bullpen in the second half of the season.

Similarly, Scott Effross is on track to return to the bullpen mix. Currently progressing through bullpen sessions under the watchful eyes of manager Aaron Boone, Effross is rehabilitating from Tommy John and back surgery. He didn’t pitch in 2022 but previously demonstrated his capability with a 2.54 ERA over 56.2 innings split between the Chicago Cubs and Yankees.

MLB: New York Yankees at Texas Rangers
Oct 3, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Scott Effross (59) delivers a pitch to the Texas Rangers during the ninth inning at Globe Life Field. The Yankees won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

After joining the Yankees, he achieved a 2.13 ERA before his season was cut short. Effross, who employs a submarine pitching style, utilizes a sinker, slider, and change-up, which, despite the strain they place on his elbow, make him a critical high-leverage option. With only two years of service time, the Yankees control his contract until 2028.

These impending returns are viewed almost as mid-season acquisitions, allowing the Yankees to maintain their prospect pool and MLB-ready talent while potentially redirecting their focus to bolster other areas of the team. This strategy not only preserves valuable resources but also positions the Yankees to address any additional needs as they prepare for the latter half of the season and beyond.

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