The Yankees announced three of their big free agent signings on Wednesday afternoon, notably Aaron Judge, Carlos Rodon, and Tommy Kahnle.
Management had to clear two roster spots to fit Rodon and Kahnle, but the team designated one underrated bullpen arm for assignment unexpectedly.
With Kahnle signing a two-year, $11.5 million deal, the Yankees elected to DFA Lucas Luetge, a 35-year-old lefty bullpen arm who is coming off two consecutive solid seasons with a significant sample size of innings in tow.
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The Yankees got great value out of Lucas Luetge in 2022:
In 2022, Luetge posted a 2.67 ERA across 57.1 innings. He recorded 9.42 strikeouts per nine, 83% left on-base rate and 35.3% ground ball rate. While Luetge wasn’t utilizing any high-level situation, he’s able to eat innings and provide relief to some of the team’s more prominent arms.
This is certainly a surprise, given his small price tag and diversified skill set. The Yankees can likely find another productive arm to eat low-average innings next season, but Luetge has been reliable over two years. His projections don’t favor another adequate season, sitting at 3.96 in the ERA department over 50 innings per Steamer. Natural regression will ultimately take place, given his age, but there are other players who will take his place.
The Yankees might’ve been able to package Luetge in a trade, extracting any value, but clearly, they expected a significant regression in 2023, justifying their decision.