With the Yankees looking into the reliever market to find upgrades, it seems that the internal route will be the one they take, as Jack Curry reports on Hot Stove that the team has held conversations with both Keynan Middleton and Wandy Peralta on a potential reunion. Hector Gomez and Mark Feinsand both reported that the Yankees have had interest in Houston Astros’ reliever Hector Neris, but the aforementioned Curry threw cold water on the idea that the two parties would come together on an agreement.
The Yankees were one of the best bullpens in baseball, finishing first in ERA (3.34) and boasting multiple quality relievers, but will we see a familiar face come back for their bullpen?
Yankees Discussing Reunion With Wandy Peralta or Keynan Middleton
This past deadline, the Yankees were oddly quiet, not making many notable additions to their MLB roster except Keynan Middleton. Sending RHP Juan Carela to the White Sox, the Yankees received a reliever who had excellent swing-and-miss stuff but struggled against right-handed batters due to issues with pitch selection. After being acquired by the Yankees, Middleton went off for a 1.88 ERA and 30.4% strikeout rate across 14.1 innings for the Yankees, displaying both excellent whiff rates but also stellar groundball rates as well.
With the Yankees, he had a 71.1% groundball rate, and this was because of an increase in slider usage with the Bronx Bombers. His ability to generate swings-and-misses is extremely appealing, with all three pitches in his arsenal having a Whiff Rate above 30%. The Yankees love what he brings to the table, and his fiery personality on the bump is certainly in line with what the team has brought into their clubhouse over the past few seasons. It’s unclear how much he’d demand on the market, but what if the team wants to add another left-handed reliever?
Wandy Peralta has become a fan favorite with the Bronx Bombers, and there’s a good reason for it. He’s not just a pitcher who has done well with the team, posting a 2.82 ERA since being acquired from the San Francisco Giants, but he’s also been one of the most clutch relievers on the team. In a big spot, it’s hard to argue that anybody rises to the occasion the way the 32-year-old left-hander has, sporting strong groundball rates and an ability to change up his tempo to deceive opposing batters.
Home runs and walks were an issue for Peralta in 2023, posting a 5.05 FIP despite his 2.83 ERA, but perhaps the Yankees feel as if he can make the adjustments necessary to get his command back online. Something that we can’t doubt is the team’s ability to get value out of their bullpen, and their familiarity with the left-hander certainly bodes well for his chances of returning to the team. The New York Mets have also shown interest in Peralta, and perhaps he gets a higher offer elsewhere, but the need for a left-handed reliever could steer the Yankees toward a reunion.
The Yankees still have a few weeks to decide who they’ll add to their bullpen before pitchers and catchers report, and with their acquisition of Marcus Stroman, it seems that the bullpen is their focus for upgrades.