The New York Yankees are set to be active at the trade deadline, trying to reinforce several positions. The bullpen is one spot that general manager Brian Cashman will be focused on after losing Michael King for the rest of the 2022 season.
King was the Yankees’ best setup man before going down, featuring a 2.29 ERA over 51 innings pitched. He hosted 11.65 strikeouts per nine and a 47% ground ball rate. King had been utilizing a sinker, slider, 4-seam fastball, and change-up as his primary four pitches. He’s been using his 4-seam and slider more this season, seeing a decrease with his sinker to 37.2%. Opposing batters were hitting just .130 against his slider, featuring a 41.2% WHIFF rate and 26.3% put-away rate.
However, losing him is a devastating blow. There was concern that King would have to undergo Tommy John surgery in addition to fixing his fractured right elbow.
According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the Yankees dodged a serious bullet with Michael King:
“Michael King UCL said to look pretty good for a pitcher so it’s looking like surgery is only need to repair fracture. 2023 said to be in play with hope he can even be ready for spring training.”
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The Yankees needed a bit of good news:
Courtesy of the baseball gods, King dodged a bullet that could’ve kept him out for nearly the entire 2023 season. Luckily, he should be ready for spring training next year, requiring a few months of rehabilitation to fix his elbow.
This is a great bit of news for the long-term future of King and the Yankees. In the meantime, Cashman will have to find a supplement at the deadline to smooth over his loss.
Options like David Robertson from the Chicago Cubs and Anthony Bass from Miami could fit the bill. However, expect to see plenty of Clarke Schmidt in the coming days to help set up Clay Holmes in closing situations. In the Yankees’ most recent win over the Baltimore Orioles, Schmidt tossed 3.0 innings, giving up just two hits and striking out three batters.