Yankees surprisingly cut solid bullpen arm, sign intriguing righty

MLB: New York Yankees at San Diego Padres
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The New York Yankees initiated several roster moves on Friday to address their bullpen woes. After the pen relinquished 10 runs in Thursday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles, the team made changes to enhance their pitching staff’s stamina due to heavy recent usage.

Yankees’ Roster Moves

In a bid to bolster their bullpen, the Yankees announced the signing of right-handed pitcher Phil Bickford and the recall of Yoendrys Gomez from Triple-A Scranton on Friday afternoon. Concurrently, they designated left-handed pitcher Victor Gonzalez for assignment.

Despite Gonzalez’s decent performance this season, boasting a 3.86 ERA with a 68.5% left-on-base rate and a 55.1% ground ball rate across 23.1 innings, he was a victim of roster adjustments. If he clears waivers, the plan is to outright him to Triple-A until his services are needed again.

MLB: Spring Training-Atlanta Braves at New York Yankees
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Analyzing Gonzalez’s Performance

Gonzalez, who ranks in the 92nd percentile for ground-ball rate, was facing a 5.17 expected ERA, indicating that his performance might have involved a significant amount of luck. Additionally, his capabilities in generating swings and misses were limited, ranking in the 19th percentile in chase rate and 6th percentile in whiff rate. With only nine strikeouts in his action this season, the Yankees were presumably bracing for a regression. Despite the obvious lack of depth, it was somewhat unexpected that the team chose to part ways with him.

Bickford’s Potential Impact

On the other hand, Phil Bickford, a 28-year-old right-hander, has yet to pitch in the MLB this season. Last year, he split 67.1 innings between the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets, recording a 4.95 ERA.

Despite the higher ERA, Bickford has shown decent velocity and good strikeout capabilities, although his ground ball rate was only 27.9%. He utilizes a four-seam fastball and slider, which pitching coach Matt Blake may find worthwhile to refine. Notably, Bickford’s fastball ranks in the 90th percentile in run value, suggesting the Yankees see untapped potential in his pitching metrics.

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