Yankees acquire interesting right-handed reliever from White Sox in trade

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Baltimore Orioles
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The Yankees have made a second in-season trade for pitching, this time adding Jake Cousins from the Chicago White Sox for cash considerations. Last season, the right-hander tossed 9.1 innings with a 4.82 ERA, struggling with command and health since a breakout season in 2021. Across 52.2 innings at the Major League level, he has a 3.08 ERA and 50.4% GB%, and while walks are an issue, the stuff is certainly not. He’s a sidewinding reliever with an excellent sinker-slider combination, and he fits the mold of a pitcher that the Yankees traditionally have a lot of success with.

Earlier in the week, the Yankees also acquired JT Brubaker from the Pittsburgh Pirates, as they seem to be stocking up on lottery ticket arms to bolster the depth chart.

Jake Cousins Heading to the Yankees In Trade With the White Sox

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Milwaukee Brewers
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The New York Yankees might have another flier on their hands who could develop into an interesting reliever, as they’ve acquired Jake Cousins from the Chicago White Sox. Injuries and command are his biggest issues, but those are also two of the least stable aspects of a pitcher’s game, especially in the bullpen. From a pitch profile standpoint, the Yankees have an arm that fits everything they preach, as Jake Cousins throws a mid-90s sinker with over 17 inches of horizontal break and a slider that has sweeper movement.

Something that the Yankees have done extremely well under Matt Blake and Sam Briend has been developing sinker-slider pitchers with excellent horizontal movement profiles. Cousins has a crossbody action that allows him to generate a lot of side-to-side movement, and his four-seamer is a new weapon he deployed to help him get left-handed batters out, with his lower slot release making it a strong pitch up in the strike zone. In his career, Cousins has generated a 38.7% Whiff Rate, which is well above the MLB average as well.

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Jake Cousins presents an interesting pitcher for the Yankees to develop, as the team is a bullpen factory that has produced multiple quality arms for high-leverage situations out of thin air. Their most recent success story is Ian Hamilton, who has quickly become one of Aaron Boone’s most trusted weapons against both right-handed and left-handed batters. Clay Holmes, who is the closer for the team and already has three saves on the season, was also considered an afterthought when he was acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2021.

The Yankees bullpen is built on names that were under-discussed before being acquired by New York, and that’s become a strength of the organization. It’s allowed them to allocate financial resources towards their rotation and lineup, and that will prove to be even more important as they hope to sign Juan Soto after the 2024 season. With Jake Cousins, they should have extra depth for a bullpen that has experienced injuries already, with Tommy Kahnle, Scott Effross, and Lou Trivino all on the IL to open the season.

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