Yankees’ new free agent pitching acquisition may have a one-and-done season

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have lost three consecutive games, including two straight to the Toronto Blue Jays to open up an away series before traveling back home to face off against the Tampa Bay Rays.

While the defeat was marginal at 5–4, the Yankees’ pitching failed to come up big when the going got tough. Carlos Rodon had a difficult start, giving up five hits and three earned runs over just four innings. He tossed 101 pitches in that small sample, suggesting the Blue Jays were making him work, and they eventually got the best of him.

However, his support, Luke Weaver, didn’t fare much better. He was knocked out after just 1.1 innings, allowing two hits and two earned runs.

The Yankees Need Weaver to Step Up

Weaver signed a one-year, $2 million deal with a 2025 club option, so the Yankees would have full control over his future if he rose to the occasion.

Unfortunately, the 30-year-old has been nothing but a liability over the first 10.2 innings of the season. While he could certainly turn things around to get back on track, he currently features a 5.91 ERA and 5.78 FIP, including a career-low 5.91 strikeouts per nine, a 62.5% left-on-base rate, and a 35.3% ground ball rate.

Weaver’s 5.84 xERA (expected ERA) ranks in the 19th percentile, suggesting his poor performance isn’t being masked by mistakes or a lack of luck. His chase rate ranks in the 76th percentile, but other than that, his numbers are poor. Opposing batters are hitting .300 against his four-seam fastball, giving up three hits with a run across 12 plate appearances.

Weaver has generated a lot more production with his cutter and change-up, but the Yankees are trying to utilize him in a specific way, pairing his fastball with an off-speed pitch. As he gets accustomed to his new pitch mix and strategy, Weaver will likely experience a few hiccups. Still, at the pace currently on, the Yankees can’t rely on him to be a high-leverage arm, which is problematic after losing Jonathan Loaisiga’s injury several days ago.

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