Yankees non-tender Jonathan Holder; avoid arbitration with Luis Cessa and Ben Heller

New York Yankees, Jonathan Holder
Jun 24, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Jonathan Holder (56) is taken out of the game after giving up five runs against the Toronto Blue Jays during the eighth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees reportedly decided to tender a contract to catcher Gary Sanchez prior to tonight’s 8 pm deadline. However, they opted not to retain longtime reliever Jonathan Holder, making him free to sign with any team.

The news was reported by MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. Holder had been with the New York Yankees since he made his big league debut back in 2016. In his career, he has a 4.38 ERA and a 3.85 FIP in 176.2 innings. He has a 8.41 K/9 mark and has handed 2.70 BB/9 so far in his big league tenure.

Holder could make for a nice reclamation project for some other team, as his right arm isn’t short on talent. In 2017 and 2018, he had two straight seasons with an ERA and FIP lower than four.

However, after an inconsistent 2019 that saw him finish with a 6.31 ERA, and a bad 2020 (that actually started off well) in which he had a 4.98 ERA, the Yankees decided to move on from the big righty.

According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the Yankees were planning to tender a contract to Gary Sanchez ahead of the deadline. He is expected to make a little over $5 million in arbitration next season.

Other Yankees’ transactions

In another transaction, the Yankees avoided arbitration with fellow right-handed reliever Luis Cessa after agreeing to a one-year contract worth $1 million.

For Cessa, it was his first year of arbitration eligibility. He has been a full-time reliever for the Yankees in the last few seasons and has gotten better results thanks to an increased usage of his slider.

The Bombers also agreed to a one-year deal with right-handed reliever Ben Heller.

Several useful major leaguers are entering the market as teams are announcing their lists of non-tendered players. The Yankees could turn their attention to some of them, most notably relievers Archie Bradley and Ryne Stanek, or designated hitter/outfielder Kyle Schwarber, among other potentially useful players in various positions.