Yankees demote struggling reliever, promote rookie starter

With the deadline approaching, the news that Jhony Brito had a locker in the Yankees‘ clubhouse was certainly puzzling. The corresponding move is official, it’s Ron Marinaccio who gets the axe as he’s sent down to Triple-A to presumably work on the issues he had been having lately.

Following a season where he was one of the best relievers in the sport, Marinaccio has been ineffective and unreliable for the Yankees, and with their depth in the bullpen, they could sustain having him work through issues in Scranton rather than do so with the big league club.

The 28-year-old reliever has an ugly 4.08 ERA and 4.60 FIP on the season, with teams hitting more HRs and generating more barrels against him than they did last season. His walk rate is slightly lower than what it was last season, but it’s come with a dip in strikeouts as well, and with a 12.5% HR/FB rate compared to a 4.7% clip last season, something is clearly off with his in-zone command and ability to set up his arsenal. It’ll be interesting to see what adjustments he makes in Scranton, but they now turn to Jhony Brito to bolster their pitching staff.

Are the Yankees Making a Rotation Change?

It would be odd if they decided to bring up a starter who is trying to develop as one in Triple-A and temporarily halted their development as one to get some innings in the bullpen. They have Greg Weissert and Matt Krook on the 40-Man Roster to do that for them, alongside a newly-added reliever in Anthony Misiewicz, who they added to the 40-Man Roster a few weeks ago. With Luis Severino getting pummeled for nine runs on Sunday Night Baseball, they might be looking to make a switch in the rotation.

Jhony Brito isn’t anything special as a starter, but his 4.70 ERA is certainly a lot better than Severino’s 7.49 mark, especially since the right-hander put up an ugly 11.22 ERA in July. Things aren’t trending in the right direction for the former All-Star, and the Yankees are probably looking to move him out of the rotation or, much worse, off the roster entirely. A free agent after the season, the Yankees likely don’t see much of a future for Luis Severino in New York, and with slipping playoff odds, they need to make changes sooner rather than later.

mlb: kansas city royals at new york yankees, luis severino
Jul 23, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino (40) reacts as he exits the game against the Kansas City Royals during the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees are reportedly dealing with an issue with RHP Domingo German, who has a physical issue that will prevent him from making tonight’s start, where Jhony Brito will fill in.

It’s hard to imagine that with a good start tonight, Brito won’t be able to earn a longer leash with the team as they fight to bring themselves back into the playoff fold, but that remains to be seen. Brito will be tasked with taking on Tyler Glasnow and the Tampa Bay Rays, who made a blockbuster deal for RHP Aaron Civale, sending away top-100 prospect Kyle Manzardo in the process.

Brito is throwing a new sweeping breaking ball that we’ve seen him utilize in his last two starts against the Mariners and Athletics, where he allowed just two runs across 11.1 IP.

In his last six MLB starts, Brito has a 3.97 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 34 IP, and while he still has to work on his command and ability to generate whiffs, the Yankees are chasing results on a team desperate to get back in the win column. It’ll be a tall task for the 25-year-old rookie, but he could earn himself a spot on a rotation that’s starting to come apart at the seams.