Yankees could find a hidden gem in free agent relief pitcher

mlb: san francisco giants at los angeles dodgers, yankees, ryan brasier
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have approached their off-season spending with a notable degree of caution, especially in terms of bolstering their starting rotation and bullpen.

Despite being linked to several high-profile pitchers, such as Blake Snell and Hector Neris, the Yankees have watched as many top bullpen arms found homes elsewhere in free agency. However, there remains a potential interest in Ryan Brasier, a former relief pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, who might offer an affordable solution to the Yankees’ bullpen needs.

Ryan Brasier: A Potential Bargain Find

Ryan Brasier, 36, split his last season between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers, pitching a total of 59.2 innings with a commendable 3.02 ERA. His tenure with the Dodgers was particularly impressive, boasting a 0.70 ERA over 38.2 innings, a stark contrast to his 7.29 ERA during his time with the Red Sox.

The Dodgers’ adjustment to Brasier’s pitching strategy, notably the reduced reliance on his four-seam fastball in favor of his cutter, might have contributed to this turnaround.

Introduced in June, the cutter saw an increased usage to 25.6% by September, showing significant effectiveness with a .152 batting average against and a .273 slugging rate. This newfound pitch, averaging 92 mph with notable horizontal movement and drop, could be the key to his late-career resurgence.

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Yankees’ Bullpen Strategy: To Sign or Not to Sign

While the Yankees could benefit from Brasier’s recent success and the effectiveness of his cutter, General Manager Brian Cashman’s recent reluctance to make new signings suggests a potential hesitation to bring Brasier into the fold.

The Yankees have a history of uncovering bullpen value without significant expenditure, and it remains to be seen whether they will make an exception for Brasier.

As the Yankees continue to evaluate their options, the question of whether to solidify their bullpen with a proven yet potentially inconsistent arm like Brasier’s or to rely on their ability to find hidden gems remains a pivotal decision in their off-season strategy.