The Bombers let Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman walk, justifiable decisions given the former of the two has barely pitched over the last two seasons, and Chapman abandoned his team just before the playoffs last year.
However, the Yankees only have one reliable lefty, Wandy Peralta. With that being the case, it is no surprise that they could be dipping their feet in that market, despite things moving slowly over the past few months.
According to sources with knowledge of the market but unauthorized to speak publicly, the teams with varying interest in left-handed relievers and varying amounts to spend include the Rangers, Angels and Astros in the AL West; Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays in the AL East; and Brewers, Cardinals and Cubs in the NL Central.Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
Yankees will have stiff competition for any bullpen signings:
Clearly, the Yankees have competition if they want to add a new lefty bullpen arm to the roster unless they acquire one via trade. Peralta will serve as a high-leverage piece for the Yankees, who are trying to push deeper into games with their starting rotation, which is why they inked Carlos Rodon to a contract worth $162M over six years.
One relief pitching option that remains on the market is Andrew Chafin, a 32-year-old that is coming off a great year with the Detroit Tigers. He posted a 2.83 ERA, 3.27 xFIP, 10.52 strikeouts per nine, and a 51.3% ground ball rate across 57.1 in his last year.
Chafin utilizes a sinker, slider, and 4-seam fastball combination. His slider is a lethal pitch, generating a .085 batting average against last year with a 60.4% whiff rate and 26.5% put-away rate. His slider has more of a Gyro vertical movement than a sweeping motion, but it gets the job done at a very efficient clip.
- Yankees still have a big starting pitching decision to figure out
- Yankees can still land top remaining free-agent left-fielder if asking price comes down
- Yankees settle with Gleyber Torres on one-year deal, avoiding arbitration
Brian Cashman did bring back Tommy Kahnle:
The Yankees did make one off-season acquisition to help their bullpen, signing Tommy Kahnle to a new contract. Kahnle is a right-handed pitcher, though, but at 33 years old, has only pitched 13 innings over his last three years combined. He did enjoy a 2.84 ERA last season over 12.2 innings. Still, the sample size is so small the Yankees paying him $5.8 million per season over two years is undoubtedly an optimistic viewpoint on his contributions.
As aforementioned, the Yankees already have a strong bullpen and could roll into the season feeling confident. However, their lack of lefties could end up biting them in the butt down the road, especially after trading Lucas Luetge to the Atlanta Braves.