Yankees claim ground-ball-inducing reliever off waivers from the Astros

mlb: houston astros at seattle mariners, matt gage, yankees
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The New York Yankees have been active in exploring the free-agent market to bolster their bullpen. Recently, they decided to step back from pursuing Hector Neris, who signed with the Cubs, shifting their focus to other potential additions to their pitching staff.

Yankees Claim Matt Gage Off Waivers

In a more economical move, the Yankees have claimed left-handed reliever Matt Gage off waivers from the Houston Astros, as reported by Jon Heyman of the New York Post. Gage, a native of Upstate New York, has had a journeyman’s career, playing in various leagues over the past nine years.

Now 30 years old and standing at 6’3″, Gage spent the last season with Houston’s Triple-A affiliate, along with a brief stint in the majors where he pitched 6.2 innings.

Gage’s MLB experience is limited to 19.2 innings, but he has shown promise with a 1.83 ERA and 9.15 strikeouts per nine innings. He also boasts an 83.3% left-on-base rate and a 48.9% ground ball rate. Despite a higher ERA of 4.58 over 37.1 innings in Triple-A, his ability to induce ground balls has been consistently strong throughout his career.

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Gage’s Role and Potential Impact with the Yankees

Gage will likely join the Yankees as a spring training invitee, where he will have the chance to compete for a spot on the roster. His pitching arsenal, which includes a four-seam fastball averaging around 94 mph, a cutter, and a slider, will be key in his quest to make the team.

The Yankees are particularly interested in Gage’s ground ball tendencies, which could be a valuable asset. While Gage may not be expected to have a significant long-term impact, he could serve as a reliable reserve option for the bullpen, especially as the season progresses into the summer months. This acquisition reflects the Yankees’ strategy of finding potential value in less heralded players to strengthen their pitching depth.