New York Yankees: former reliever inks deal with Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs have signed former New York Yankees reliever Jonathan Holder to a non-guaranteed deal. He can earn up to $750,000, and the contract is for just the 2021 season.

Holder was drafted in the sixth round of the 2014 MLB draft by the Yankees, and spent his entire career with the organization up to this point. He quickly progressed through the minor league system, making his major league debut in 2016. He appeared in eight games that year, pitching to a 5.40 ERA.

Beginning in 2017, Holder took up a much bigger role in the Yankee bullpen, as he began to see high-leverage situations. He pitched to a 3.89 ERA, keeping a spot on the roster for 2018.

Appearing in 60 games in 2018, Holder had a 3.14 ERA with a 3.04 FIP in his best career season. 2019 was a step back, posting a career-high 6.31 ERA. However, he managed to win five games and averaged 10 strikeouts per nine innings.

Holder’s pandemic-shortened 2020 season wasn’t stellar, either. He pitched to a 4.98 ERA and a 5.22 FIP, ending his Yankee career on a sour note. His struggles led to the Yankees to non-tendering Holder on December 2nd, making him a free-agent. After just two weeks on the market, the rebuilding Chicago Cubs swooped him up.

Holder should fit well in Chicago. They need young arms, and Holder still has potential. Holder will also get the opportunity to pitch in more high-leverage situations, something he wouldn’t see a whole lot if he remained a Yankee.

If Holder performs for the Cubs the way he did in 2018 for the Yankees, Chicago could’ve gotten a steal from the Yankees.



Yankees non-tender Jonathan Holder; avoid arbitration with Luis Cessa and Ben Heller

New York Yankees, Jonathan Holder

The New York Yankees reportedly decided to tender a contract to catcher Gary Sanchez prior to tonight’s 8 pm deadline. However, they opted not to retain longtime reliever Jonathan Holder, making him free to sign with any team.

The news was reported by’s Mark Feinsand. Holder had been with the New York Yankees since he made his big league debut back in 2016. In his career, he has a 4.38 ERA and a 3.85 FIP in 176.2 innings. He has a 8.41 K/9 mark and has handed 2.70 BB/9 so far in his big league tenure.

Holder could make for a nice reclamation project for some other team, as his right arm isn’t short on talent. In 2017 and 2018, he had two straight seasons with an ERA and FIP lower than four.

However, after an inconsistent 2019 that saw him finish with a 6.31 ERA, and a bad 2020 (that actually started off well) in which he had a 4.98 ERA, the Yankees decided to move on from the big righty.

According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the Yankees were planning to tender a contract to Gary Sanchez ahead of the deadline. He is expected to make a little over $5 million in arbitration next season.

Other Yankees’ transactions

In another transaction, the Yankees avoided arbitration with fellow right-handed reliever Luis Cessa after agreeing to a one-year contract worth $1 million.

For Cessa, it was his first year of arbitration eligibility. He has been a full-time reliever for the Yankees in the last few seasons and has gotten better results thanks to an increased usage of his slider.

The Bombers also agreed to a one-year deal with right-handed reliever Ben Heller.

Several useful major leaguers are entering the market as teams are announcing their lists of non-tendered players. The Yankees could turn their attention to some of them, most notably relievers Archie Bradley and Ryne Stanek, or designated hitter/outfielder Kyle Schwarber, among other potentially useful players in various positions.

New York Yankees News/Rumors: Four Yankee players could be gone by 8 pm

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

For the New York Yankees and the other 29 MLB teams, they have until 8 pm tonight to tender contracts to players of they become free agents and tentatively out of pinstripes forever. Don’t worry, Clint Frazier, Chad Green, Aaron Judge, Jordan Montgomery, Gleyber Torres, Gio Urshela, and Luke Voit aren’t going anywhere. These eight players are too important to the Yankees, and their arbitration salaries are all bargains by major league standards.

However, four Yankees could be gone by tonight. They are Gary Sanchez, Luis Cessa, Ben Heller, and Jonathan Holder. Cessa and Holder will most likely be tendered a contract.

Luis Cessa is often an unrated arm in the bullpen, but nevertheless, Cessa in the last five years with the Yankees has been a workhorse, starting, providing mid relief, and even saving games. The usually reliable Cessa had his best year in 2019, pitching in 47 games and closing out 14 of them with one save. Although his 2020 performance was not up to those figures, he was called to the mound 16 times, closing out 6 of them with one save, while registering his best ERA of 3.32. Cessa will be a keeper.

Jonathan Holder, like Cessa, has also been kicking around for five years and has been mostly solid for the Yankees. Holder was important to the Yankees this past season going 3-0 in 18 games in a 60 game season. Holder is durable and will most likely be tendered.

Ben Heller is another story. Heller is injury prone and hasn’t been much help to the New York Yankees. In his seven years with the Yankees, four in the majors, even though he has one of the lowest career ERA on has 2 wins to he credit. A low ERA doesn’t help much if you can’t stay on the mound. He will likely be non-tendered and be out of pinstripes.

Gary Sanchez is still another story. Whether you believe the possible trade hype from Cashman and Boone recently, or you believed the Yankees’ actions late last season and in the postseason, will determine if Sanchez remains a Yankee. Both manager Boone and Brian Cashman have recently praised Sanchez for his talent and potential to be on the edge of a star player. The question is whether they truly have faith in him or if they were trying to raise his trade value.

Sometimes actions speak louder than words. Last season was Sanchez’s worst season with the Yankees. He hit only .147 and had another season of failing to block the ball. He was so bad that Boone that does not believe in personal catchers allowed Kyle Higasioka to become ace Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher. Near the end of the season took a greater role in catching starts as Sanchez was sat down, even in the postseason. However, I believe that he will be in pinstripes next year, even if it’s only because he is an economical option in a season that the Yankees will be penny-pinching.


New York Yankees: How the starting pitching rotation will look after Luis Severino’s injury

New York Yankees, Jonathan Loaisiga

With the news breaking that New York Yankees No. 2 starter Luis Severino will likely succumb to Tommy John surgery, manager Aaron Boone will need to find a replacement for him in the rotation.

James Paxton is already facing a lengthy recovery after having a cyst removed from his lower back, so losing two pitchers for significant time will force others to slot in at the end of the rotation. Thank goodness GM Brian Cashman retained J.A. Happ after all since his services will be heavily required in 2020.

However, Severino and Paxton’s injury gives multiple youngsters an opportunity as starting level pitchers. The return of Jordan Montgomery will prove to be significant, and his outing against the Pittsburg Pirates on Monday was exactly what the Yankees needed to see regarding their confidence in him.

Montgomery pitched 2.0 innings, striking out three batters and walking one. He allowed zero earned runs, finishing a quality night. I expect him to slot in as the No. 4 starter while Paxton recovers, and then move down to No. 5. While Monty didn’t feature much in 2019 due to injury, his first two seasons (2017-18) saw him toss two consecutive sub-4.00 ERA campaigns.

How will the New York Yankees supplement the No. 5 spot?

The Bombers don’t have a solidified No. 5 pitcher to take the reigns and handle the final spot in the rotation with consistency. I believe they will utilize a rotating system in the last slot, consisting of Michael King, Jonathan Loaisiga, and Jonathan Holder.

The 2020 season will be King’s rookie campaign, after pitching just several innings in 2019 at the major league level. He had some consistency issues in the minor league’s but is ready to be called up and tested. Loaisiga, on the other hand, finished 2019 with a 4.55 ERA, allowing six homers and logging 37 strikeouts. I expect him to take a step forward in the coming year after working on developing his off-speed pitches. He has added a solid changeup to his arsenal of mostly fastball variations, giving him that extra diversity to confuse batters.

Holder, though, shouldn’t be cast aside. While Holder posted a 6.31 ERA in 2019, he logged 46 strikeouts over 41.1 innings. His SO9 land at 10.0, which is quite impressive, indicating a solid whiff rate. His low 90s fastball isn’t anything to write home about, but he does feature a changeup, slider, cutter, and curveball. His cutter and fastball are his best pitches in terms of accuracy and velocity, but he has the offspeed mojo to get the job done.

Overall, I think the Yankees have the talent to survive the injuries sustained to the starting rotation, and hopefully, they can gain back Severino before the postseason hits later on in 2020.

Gary Sanchez Returns To The New York Yankees With A Bang

New York Yankees all-star catcher Gary Sanchez was removed from the IL prior to Saturday’s game, and he got his return off to a hot start.

Sanchez was placed on the IL on July 24th with a groin strain after a series of poor games. Kyle Higashioka filled Sanchez’s roster spot and played well in his brief time in the majors, but has now been sent back down to AAA.

After striking out on a 96 mile per hour heater in his first at-bat back, Sanchez made a loud return to the team, lining a slider into the left-center field seats for a solo-shot. August has always been Gary’s month, and he has started the month off quite well.

The home run wouldn’t amount to anything as the Yankees fell late to the Blue Jays 5-4, but it was good to see Gary back and healthy. His average had dipped down to .230, but hopefully that will go up now.

Additional Roster Moves

Yankee right-handed reliever Jonathan Holder has been placed on the 10-day IL with shoulder inflammation, and Stephen Tarpley has been recalled from AAA. It really sucks to see Holder on the IL because he has been pitching much better of late.

The Yankees have to hope that no more relievers go down soon. AAA pitchers Daniel Camarena and Domingo Acevedo have also been placed on the IL, and both are on the 40-man roster.

Because of those injuries, it makes sense now why the Yankees acquired reliever Joe Mantiply from the Reds. He has seen major league time before, but not since 2016. He could be called upon in an emergency.

Hopefully, everyone on the team can stay healthy now for the postseason run.

New York Yankees: Voit And Hale To The IL

New York Yankees, Luke Voit

In case you missed it, the New York Yankees placed first baseman Luke Voit and reliever David Hale on the 10 day injured list.  Voit is on the IL with a sports hernia, and Hale is on with a lumbar strain.

Yankee skipper Aaron Boone didn’t have much concern about Hale, saying he should be back in no time. But things get a bit more complicated with Voit.

The team is in a 24-48 hour waiting period with him to see how the injury repairs itself in that time span. Then, they will look at it again to decide if he will need surgery. If he does, he likely wouldn’t be healthy again until the postseason. If results come back clean, he should be ready once the 10 days end

Voit sustained the injury on a swing in Tuesday’s loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. We don’t know exactly how Hale was injured.


To fill the two roster spots, the team has recalled Breyvic Valera and Jonathan Holder from AAA.

Valera is a versatile infielder who the team claimed off of waivers early in the season from the Giants, then proceeded to rake in AAA. Valera appeared in a Yankee uniform last time Voit was sidelined by an injury, so in mid-July.

Holder is still a work in progress after his poor start to 2019, but has fired a scoreless major league inning since initially being sent down in June.

It’s good that Hale should be back soon because he has made a quiet but great impact in the bullpen. Losing Voit for the rest of the season could be devastating, and here’s to hoping for positive results.

New York Yankees: Gary Sanchez To The IL With Groin Strain

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

The New York Yankees announced today that catcher Gary Sanchez will be heading to the 10-day IL with a groin strain. Sanchez has really struggled of late, and is batting just .102 in July.

Austin Romine will be the starting catcher for now, as Kyle Higashioka has been recalled from AAA to fill the open roster spot as the back-up. Higashioka is 3-for-15 in the majors this year, and is batting .268 with 16 home runs and 40 RBI in the minors.

Additionally, Jonathan Holder was sent back to AAA and Nestor Cortes Jr. will fill his spot. Holder appeared in the series opener against Minnesota, pitching a scoreless inning. Cortes Jr. was likely recalled because he is fresher.

The Sanchez injury isn’t anything the Yankees can’t overcome, and hopefully he will be back to his normal self once he comes back.

New York Yankees: Jonathan Holder Back In Pinstripes

New York Yankees, Jonathan Holder

New York Yankees reliever Jonathan Holder has been recalled from AAA after being sent down after a shaky start to the season.

Holder, 26, had a 5-2 record but an ERA of almost 7.00 in 35 and 2/3 innings. He was sent to AAA on June 25th. Over his last seven major league outings, he has given up 13 runs and has given up 17 runs in his last 15 outings.

In AAA, Holder had a 3.48 ERA but improved each time out. He only gave up one run in his last 6 and 1/3 innings.

It’s really good to see Jonathan Holder back in the majors. He had a breakout season in 2018 and we know the potential he has to be extremely successful in middle relief. He can become one of those guys to directly relieve starters, and transition the game to guys like Zach Britton or Adam Ottavino.

The corresponding move is that Stephen Tarpley has been optioned to AAA. Tarpley pitched 4 and 1/3 innings in the series against the Rockies, including three innings on Friday alone. He gave up just one run over the two outings.

Once back in AAA, Tarpley will have time to improve his pitching against right handers. He is completely dominant against lefties, but has struggled a ton against righties.

Holder should make his Yankee first Yankee appearance in over a month this week against the Twins. The Yankees play three against the AL Central leaders before trekking off to Fenway Park for the first time this year for four games against the Red Sox.

Hopefully, Holder will return to last year’s form to help the Yankee’s more in middle relief.



New York Yankees: The Man Behind A Lot Of The Bullpen Success

New York Yankees, Chad Green

The New York Yankees have had a dominant bullpen this year, and a lot of the success is attributed to a man that we barely know. Meet Tommy Phelps, the pitching coach for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders.

Phelps has had an enormous impact on the Yankees bullpen this year. He has worked with Nestor Cortes Jr., David Hale, and Steven Tarpley and all three have pitched great in the majors.

Cortes Jr. has pitched 37 and 1/3 innings for the Yankees this year, and has a 4.34 ERA and a 3-0 record. He has often seen several innings of work in bullpen games to transition from the starter (Chad Green) to high leverage guys.

Speaking of Green, Phelps also fixed Chad Green after an awful start to the season. After an ERA of over 16.00 at the end of April, Green has bounced back and has only given up two runs since the end of May.

David Hale has had a breakout season in 2019, and has even seen some high leverage situations. He is also 3-0, and his ERA is just 2.23 over 32 and 1/3 innings.

Stephen Tarpley has an ERA over 7.00, but has emerged as a cheat code to lefties. Lefties have just a .059 average against Tarpley, while righties bat almost .400 against him. Pitching to righties needs to improve, but Tarpley dominates against lefty-heavy lineups.

Jonathan Holder also got off to an awful start to 2019, and is currently in AAA to get fixed like did. He has pitched well of late for the Railriders, and we may see Holder back in the Yankee bullpen soon.

Tommy Phelps has done a fantastic job with pitchers in AAA this season, and his impact has been significantly felt on the Yankees this year.

New York Yankees: Jonathan Holder Optioned to AAA

New York Yankees, Jonathan Holder

There have only been four Yankee pitchers in club history to allow 5+ earned runs and 5+ hits while getting zero outs. Jonathan Holder has done it twice.

It is no secret that Holder has struggled this season. In his last seven games, Holder has thrown six innings and is credited to a 19.50 ERA. Last night’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays, the Yankees were holding a 10-3 lead and decided to bring in Holder. Five batters later, it was a 10-7 game. Holder allowed two home runs, one of them being a grand-slam.

Following Monday’s game Holder met with media saying, “My breaking ball hasn’t been consistent, and I haven’t been able to come through in big jams. I haven’t been able to execute pitches in a timely manner.” While being asked about maintaining confidence Holder said, “It’s tough, it’s frustrating. It’s not fun, but, just keep working everyday and I got to realize every time I go out one pitch at a time and just execute.”

Following Monday’s match up against the Blue Jays, Holder was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Earlier in the season, Chad Green, struggled and figured it out down in triple-A. Yankee fans hope to see Holder do the same.