Yankees designate left-handed arm for assignment, bring up 2 interesting righties

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The New York Yankees made some moves today to further bolster the backend of their bullpen, but it comes with a new arm being designated for assignment. Victor Gonzalez, whom the Yankees acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers this winter, has been DFA’d to create roster room and add another right-hander to the bullpen. Yoendrys Gomez comes up as the corresponding move for Ron Marinaccio, and Phil Bickford will make his Yankees’ debut as the corresponding move for Victor Gonzalez.

Both of these arms can miss bats, and they could serve as worthwhile upgrades over the mess the team currently has with their lack of strikeout relievers.

Yankees Bring Up Two Relievers, DFA Struggling Left-Hander

MLB: New York Mets at Washington Nationals
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Phil Bickford is a new name for the New York Yankees, as they brought him in on a Minor League deal early into the season and he’s performed admirably for the Scranton RailRiders. In 22 outings with the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate, the right-hander has a 2.93 ERA and 3.45 FIP, striking out 29.9% of batters faced and picking up a lot of whiffs. His four-seamer sits between 92-94 MPH with 15.7″ of vertical movement, but what makes the pitch enticing is his low release height.

This allows him to generate a flatter vertical approach angle, and that helps the fastball play up in the zone extremely well. He had some success in 2021 when he pitched to a 2.81 ERA with the Dodgers, but in 2023 he had a 4.95 ERA with the Dodgers and Mets, struggling to get strikeouts and walking a good amount of batters as well. His slider has remained ineffective (.449 wOBA) but since his fastball is so reliable, he can go to it reliably and get plenty of success as a fastball-heavy right-hander.

mlb: spring training-pittsburgh pirates at new york yankees, yoendrys gomez
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Yoendrys Gomez will join Bickford in the Bronx, and he’s a familiar face sporting a 3.13 ERA across 12 starts with a 28.9% strikeout rate. In two appearances with the Yankees, Gomez has tossed three innings with seven strikeouts, and he relies on a good four-seam fastball with some excellent breaking pitches that he can get plenty of strikeouts with thanks to his high spin rates.

The right-hander is only 24, and he could be a multi-inning bullpen weapon for this team. He has the stuff to work in a bullpen role, and he should get a more extended run than what the Yankees have given him in his other two opportunities. The Yankees were looking for more swing-and-miss upside, and the choice to designate Victor Gonzalez is a sign of some urgency on their end to get bullpen talent.

His 3.86 ERA with the Yankees was misleading, as he walked more batters than he struck out and really struggled in his time with the Bronx Bombers. Gonzalez will end up on waivers, where a team can claim him or he could find himself in Triple-A with a chance to work on the command that fleeted him this season.

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