Yankees News: One lowkey bullpen arm that could impress during Spring Training

New York Yankees, Addison Russ

You can never have enough pitching in the MLB, something the New York Yankees have simply ignored over the past few seasons. With the starting rotation full of risky players dealing with injuries, the unit quickly became an issue, especially in 2020. General manager Brian Cashman has done a poor job piecing together the starting rotation, and he took a similar approach this off-season, acquiring Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon. Both of these players are capable of being great, but they are also coming off significant injuries and haven’t pitched much over the past two years.

Another risky approach by Cashman doesn’t brew optimism, but there is reason to believe these acquisitions this off-season will provide a bit more spark and production than in previous years. Aside from the starters, the bullpen is also a unit that could experience fluctuations of efficiency in 2021. They added a few depth pieces, but altogether, they could use one more premium player to utilize.

They did acquire a former Philadelphia Philly last August, and he recently received an invite to spring training. In 2019, Addison Russ pitched sufficiently, earning a 2.54 ERA and 12.86 strikeouts per nine.

Russ is actually a good pitcher who has a decent ground ball ratio and strikes out a ton of batters. The Yankees could use any assistance in the bullpen after trading away Adam Ottavino in a salary dump move to the Boston Red Sox. Their only acquisition has been Darren O’Day, formerly of the Atlanta Braves and Baltimore Orioles. A player like Russ impressing during spring training would be ideal, and at 26 years old, he has plenty of potential left to discover.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Cashman found a way to add another solid relief pitcher to the mix, but as spring training grows nearer, Russ is a potential filler during the regular season, especially with the prevalent nature of injuries in the Yankees’ roster.

Meet Addison Russ, the newest pitcher in the Yankees roster

New York Yankees

The New York Yankees just got back Aroldis Chapman, but recently lost Zack Britton and has been without Tommy Kahnle for quite some time already. The unit, regarded as one of the best and deepest in baseball, hasn’t been able to stay on the field at the same time at any point in the season. Pitchers such as Jonathan Holder, Chad Green, Jonathan Loaisiga and Adam Ottavino are helping it stay afloat.

However, without Kahnle and Britton, the Yankees lost some of the star power in their bullpen. Today, they traded veteran David Hale for 25-year-old hurler Addison Russ (not to be confused with former Cubs shortstop Addison Russell) and sent David Hale to the Philadelphia Phillies.

It’s clear that the New York Yankees are seeking some upside with the transaction. David Hale is seen as a steady veteran with little upside: he is now 32, but has been pitching very well this season with a 3.00 ERA and a 2.34 FIP. He also has struck 26.9% of the batters he has faced in 2020.

The Yankees like his projectability

However, Cashman and the Yankees traded that steady presence in their bullpen for some potential star-power arm in Addison Russ. The former Phillie is 25 years old and has been dominant in the minor leagues, including a 2.54 ERA with 81 strikeouts over 56 2/3 innings at the Double-A level in 2019. For now, he’ll go to the Yankees’ alternate training site.

Russ was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2017, most precisely in the 19th round out of Houston Baptist University. He is a native of Amarillo, Texas.

The newest Yankees pitcher had a good spring training as a non-roster invitee in February and March, pitching 5 2/3 frames and allowing just one run, five hits and three walks, with five punchouts and a 1.59 ERA.

Russ throws a mid-90s fastball and a very good splitter, according to NJ.com.