Yankees bring back left-handed starter in MiLB free agent deal

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After spending last year in the Yankees’ organization, Tanner Tully has returned on another Minor League deal. He departed to the Korean Baseball Organization midway through the 2023 season, where he pitched to a 2.92 ERA across 11 starts, but in Triple-A he struggled mightily. He posted a 5.64 ERA and 1.38 HR/9 in his 19 starts with the Yankees’ MiLB affiliate, but now he returns on another Minor League deal to give the Yankees even more starting pitching depth.

He has just six innings of MLB experience and has been a starter for his entire career, and while it’s unlikely he will play a massive role in the rotation next year, it never hurts to have depth in the organization.

Yankees Add More MiLB Depth, Continue to Shop For Pitching

tanner tully, yankees
Mar 13, 2023; Fort Myers, Florida, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Tanner Tully (80) throws a pitch against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning during spring training at Hammond Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Tanner Tully will be entering his age-29 season and spent his entire career before 2023 with the Cleveland Guardians as a career Minor Leaguer. In 787.1 innings pitched across 131 starts, he has a 4.18 ERA and 591 strikeouts, relying more on his ability to generate contact on the ground due to a lack of overpowering stuff. His four-seam fastball sits at just 88.8 MPH generating little vertical ride or horizontal break, and has a sweeping slider that fits the mold of breaking pitches the Yankees like.

In Triple-A, the pitch averaged 12.5 inches of horizontal sweep at over 2,300 RPMs of spin, sporting a 27.6% Whiff Rate and 87 MPH Exit Velocity on average. His changeup generated over 10 inches of vertical separation off of his four-seam fastball and had a 61.2% groundball rate, functioning as an effective damage preventer that can get batters to expand out of the zone if need be, but it’s an underwhelming arsenal that relies more on pristine command.

His struggles at Triple-A could be attributed to the high run-scoring environment in Triple-A this past season, but with underwhelming stuff, it’s hard to imagine a large role for him. That being said, you can never have too much depth, and the Yankees are covering all of their bases and making sure they have insurance in their rotation in case of disaster. They’ll still shop for higher-end talent on the market, and a name that’s become popular over the last few hours is Marcus Stroman.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Atlanta Braves
Sep 28, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (0) throws against the Atlanta Braves in the first inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Despite his prior comments about the Yankees, the right-hander seems to have an interest in playing for the Bronx Bombers, as the New York native looks to slot into the middle of their rotation. The 32-year-old posted a 3.95 ERA and 3.58 FIP across 136.2 innings pitched before opting out of his deal with the Chicago Cubs and entering free agency. His experience in the American League East with the Toronto Blue Jays and his experience in New York with the Mets could make him an interesting option for the Yankees.

One of the biggest question marks regarding Stroman is an often-controversial presence on social media, but the Yankees have hopefully done their leg work and sniffed out any potential red flags that could harm the locker room during the season. Marcus Stroman has been on record saying that he’s perfect for the bright lights of the Bronx, and he’ll have a chance to put that to the test if he were to sign with the Yankees, which is what Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports is the likeliest outcome.

The Yankees have also been connected to names like Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery in free agency, with Dylan Cease, Jesus Luzardo, and Shane Bieber as potential trade candidates for the team as well.