Yankees non-tender 3 relievers, clear up roster spots and payroll

MLB: Houston Astros at New York Yankees
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Today at 8 PM was the non-tender deadline where teams had to determine whether they would tender the contracts of arbitration-eligible players or allow them to hit free agency. With the trade of Jake Bauers, the Yankees were able to clear a roster spot while netting two prospects in return, but their roster turnover didn’t stop there. The Yankees, who have an abundance of relievers, non-tendered three different relievers on the team.

Albert Abreu, Anthony Misiewicz, and Lou Trivino were all non-tendered by the Yankees according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, and the Yankees freed up three more spots on their 40-Man roster and will save some cash in arbitration, as they look to set themselves up for an active offseason.

Yankees Free Up Bullpen Spots, Open Up 4 Total Roster Spots

lou trivino, yankees
Sep 3, 2022; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Lou Trivino (56) throws a pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays during the fifth inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees’ surplus of relievers made this an easy choice for the Yankees, as these three relievers would have blocked certain moves from being made. First is Lou Trivino, who likely would have stayed with the team had he not suffered an elbow injury in Spring Training that would later cause him to undergo season-ending Tommy John Surgery. Part of the trade that sent Frankie Montas over to the Bronx at the deadline in 2022, the 32-year-old right-hander gave the Yankees a 1.66 ERA across 21.2 innings pitched and was a great addition to the bullpen.

He was projected to make roughly $4 million in arbitration, so the Yankees likely viewed that as too much for an arm that won’t be able to return until mid-season. With their track record of success developing relievers alongside the emergence of both Jhony Brito and Randy Vasquez, the team knows it can cut costs in their bullpen, especially with how many right-handed options they currently can rely on to fill out their bullpen.

Albert Abreu, who was acquired for Brian McCann prior to the 2017 season, had never found his footing in the Yankee bullpen, as after posting a 3.26 ERA in 38.2 innings last season, he regressed mightily. Abreu posted a 4.73 ERA across 59 innings for the Yankees this past season, walking 13.1% of batters faced with a 1.37 HR/9 rate. Without Minor League options, the Yankees weren’t going to keep him on their Major League roster with other more effective options available, so he’ll hit the free agent market as well.

MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays
Aug 27, 2023; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; New York Yankees catcher Kyle Higashioka (66) holds back relief pitcher Albert Abreu (84) against the Tampa Bay Rays in the eighth inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

As for Anthony Misiewicz, the left-hander only got to appear in three games for the Yankees where he allowed just one run before suffering an unfortunate injury on a comebacker in Pittsburgh. While the Yankees do lack left-handed relievers, Misiewicz hadn’t done enough at the Major League level for the team to justify retaining him, especially as they look to bring back Wandy Peralta if the money lines up. Clayton Beeter and Yoendrys Gomez are also both on the 40-Man Roster and could impact the backend of their bullpen, so just like with Abreu the reps weren’t there for him.

With the Jake Bauers trade, the Yankees opened up four more roster spots, and accounting for their projected salaries, will save roughly $7 million in arbitration. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but given that Hal Steinbrenner may want to stay under the Steve Cohen tax again, every dollar counts, and if they want to not only make big moves this winter but also stay flexible to make moves at the deadline, cost-cutting moves like this one help as well.

Furthermore, the Yankees’ MiLB pitching depth has become so robust that the team can give reps to them instead, infusing their youth talent more and more as they look to dangle some of their pitchers in trades as well. It was expected for some roster shuffling today due to the amount of arbitration-eligible players who were either ineffective or injured last season, but the catching glutton still remains.

It’ll be interesting to see if teams inquire about the Yankees’ catchers, and it’s still expected that veteran Kyle Higashioka will be on a new team soon.

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