Yankees send 2 pitchers to complete trade for excellent left-handed reliever

MLB: Game One-Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies
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With the Yankees searching for bullpen depth, the team has acquired left-handed reliever Caleb Ferguson from the Los Angeles Dodgers. He posted a 3.43 ERA across 68 appearances for the Dodgers last season, serving as both a starter and reliever for the team. A fastball-cutter pitcher, he provides a different look to other guys in the Yankees’ bullpen who rely more upon sinkers as their primary fastball. Most importantly for New York, he’s a left-handed reliever, which they sorely needed even after adding Victor Gonzalez to the bullpen.

In return, Matt Gage and Christian Zazueta will be sent from the Yankees to the Dodgers, and the deal has officially been announced by New York.

Yankees Net Second Left-Handed Reliever From the Dodgers

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers
Sep 23, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Caleb Ferguson (64) and catcher Austin Barnes (15) celebrate the victory against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees landing Caleb Ferguson completes their bullpen group for the offseason, and he’s been brilliant for the Dodgers over the past two seasons. Posting a 2.84 ERA across 95 innings, Ferguson struck out 26% of batters faced with a 46.8% groundball rate, and both of those marks definitely appeal to the Yankees. His profile is anchored by an excellent four-seam fastball that he releases from a lower slot, averaging 95.8 MPH on the pitch and using it 66.5% of the time last season.

His cutter is his primary breaking ball, sporting a 107 Stuff+ and excellent vertical drop that allows the pitch to play to both right-handed and left-handed batters. The Yankees are an organization that heavily values the cutter, as they had the highest MiLB cutter usage of any organization in the sport. Ferguson’s ability to command two different fastballs with large differentials in movement profiles allows him to create plenty of different looks for hitters, as they have plenty of space to account for when they’re facing him.

For what the Yankees gave up, it’s a fair swap of value, as they part ways with two arms in the organization who weren’t ranked in their top 30 but have upside to contribute at some point for the Dodgers.

mlb: houston astros at seattle mariners, matt gage, yankees
May 7, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Houston Astros relief pitcher Matt Gage (91) pitches to the Seattle Mariners during the sixth inning at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Gage has been brilliant in his short stints at the Major League level, but he’ll find himself on a different ballclub once again. The 30-year-old was claimed off of waivers by the Yankees, but with Ferguson available, this was a no-brainer for New York. He’s got upside and sports a similar fastball-cutter profile to the aforementioned Caleb Ferguson, and the Dodgers could look to get more value from him. It’s also possible that with the addition of Ryan Brasier, Gage could end up on waivers once more.

Christian Zazueta is a 19-year-old pitcher from the Dominican Summer League who posted a 3.29 ERA across 12 starts, and little is known about his role in an MLB organization. He’s too far away from the Majors to determine whether he’ll be a legitimate Major League starter or more of a reliever, and as a teenager, his velocity is still on the rise. The Yankees dealt away two arms who don’t hurt their farm depth, and in return they land a reliever in a bullpen that was yearning for a left-handed addition.