Yankees get hard-throwing reliever back, place struggling starter on IL

Jonathan Loaisiga, yankees

There’s a lot going on in the Yankee transaction world, with the Bronx Bombers shuffling some pieces around with their recent injury situations. They’ll receive the late-game specialist Jonathan Loaisiga, who was brilliant for the Yankees down the stretch last season, dominating in the postseason with his blistering sinker and strong secondary offerings. Alongside him is veteran left-hander Nick Ramirez, who was optioned for Nestor Cortes ahead of his return from the IL.

For those wondering, Nick Ramirez would have usually had to wait 10 days before he’s eligible to be promoted again, but this can be bypassed for an injury-related promotion. That’s because he’s replacing Carlos Rodón, who not only had a really bad start to his Yankee career, but also finds himself on the IL again with a hamstring injury. 2023 feels like a lost year, and 2024’s going to be his first real test with the Yankees.

Yankees Continue to Have IL Shuttle, Top Prospect Loses Their Star

mlb: houston astros at new york yankees, carlos rodon

The Yankees get one of their most effective relievers back in flamethrower Jonathan Loaisiga, and yet they somehow take another crushing blow in the form of their big-time free-agent addition. Carlos Rodón has had a really tough time in the Bronx, and that’s despite the Stuff+ numbers on his pitches (outside of his Coors start) not being too far off from what we’re used to seeing.

His command took a huge hit, walking nearly 15% of batters faced and it allowed batters to lay off his slider and sit fastball, getting out in front to pull the ball in the air. Rodón is pretty infamous for giving up flyballs, but batters aren’t late on his high heat as they used to be. At a 35.3% clip, batters are pulling the ball nearly 8% more than they did in 2022, when they pulled 27.6% of flyballs hit against the former 1st Round pick.

With increased fastball usage from last season and a lack of reliable feel on the fastball, he wasn’t going to generate chases or whiffs at a high level. This is something they’ll look to correct as they build him back up and in Spring Training, and I’m ultimately not too concerned about him on the pitching front, more just frustration that he’s not going to log many innings, which will affect his workload for next season.

As for the good news for the bullpen, the Yankees are finally getting the services of an elite-level reliever.

jonathan loaisiga, yankees

When healthy, Jonathan Loáisiga has some of the best stuff in all of baseball. Last season he was brilliant on the big stage, leading the Yankees in innings pitched out of the bullpen (9.1) and holding batters to a 0.96 ERA and 76.7% GB%. There’s no denying the profile here, as he generates 16 inches of arm side run on a 98-100 MPH sinker, mixing in a devastating sweeping curveball and 90 MPH changeup that tunnels perfectly with the sinker.

He’s lost his step in the strikeout department, but his ability to generate soft contact and groundballs make him a great double play threat with hard-to-barrel-up movement. Since 2021 he’s allowed just 10 barrels at a 2.8% clip and has an average Exit Velocity of 84.2 MPH. The Yankees are going to be excited to deploy him in late-game situations, and they could have desperately used his services in their loss against the Astros to face Jake Meyers.

They’ll also promote Nick Ramirez as mentioned earlier, who has been a really nice bullpen piece who has a 2.48 ERA and 48.6% GB%, and should be able to eat some lower-leverage innings or come in as a specialist, although he’s far better against righties.

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