MLB News: Yankees ink familiar bullpen arm to contract

New York Yankees, Tyler Lyons

The New York Yankees continue to take their off-season slowly, inking minor-league contracts rather than getting aggressive on big free agent signings or diving into the trade pool.

Teams around the league have taken a more aggressive approach, as the New York Mets completed a massive trade with the Cleveland Indians to acquire Francisco Lindor and starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco. The San Diego Padres have made similarly impressive moves, acquiring Yu Darvish and Blake Snell.

The Yankees are taking a vastly different approach as they continue to wait on DJ LeMahieu this off-season. Waiting benefits the players, as they can wait for COVID-19 to hopefully taper off, as ensuring a full 2021 campaign will only earn them more money.

However, general manager Brian Cashman could also walk away with a better deal if other teams don’t offer more luxurious deals to DJ. Reports have indicated that the Toronto Blue Jays, Mets, and Los Angeles Dodgers have all inquired about his services, but it seems as if the Yankees have the advantage here, and as long as they don’t bow out of the bidding war, they will retain him on a multi-year contract.

The New York Yankees did sign a familiar bullpen arm to a minor-league deal over the weekend:

Cashman signed Tyler Lyons to a minor league contract, their latest edition. The Yankees have signed 11 players to minor-league deals this off-season, indicating that they are looking to fill depth and not acquire starting level talent.

Lyons is 32 years old and has spent the last two seasons with the Yankees’ organization. This past year, he pitched in just 1.2 innings, allowing three hits and four earned runs. The sample size is so small it’s not even worth considering, but he’s been quite inconsistent the past few seasons. With the Cardinals back in 2017, he pitched in 54 innings, earning a 2.83 ERA with 11.33 strikeouts per nine.

It is clear that Lyons has the arm to be a decent depth piece, but I wouldn’t bank on him as a consistent option during the 2021 season. The Yankees bullpen is normally one of their better units, but losing Tommy Kahnle to injury last year severely limited them. In addition, Adam Ottavino has been inconsistent, which has presented a major issue. Hopefully, he can bounce back and provide that spark as a middle-reliever.

New York Yankees Weekend News Roundup: All the news/rumors in one place

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

Yankees in danger of losing DJ LeMahieu

The New York Yankees have dragged their feet in signing DJ LeMahieu, their best player in the past two years. It’s now the middle of January in a very slow, to say the least, offseason for the Yankees where they have done little to enhance the team, and that includes bringing back DJ in pinstripes.

News around the Net and industry sources say that DJ is getting tired of waiting for the Yankees to meet his demands. Sources say that he made it known that he wants to stay in New York after originally talking with other teams. But with the stalemate, he is now re-engaging teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers, the New York Mets, and the Toronto Blue Jays. With each passing day, the Yankees are coming closer to losing LeMahieu to one of those teams willing to meet his prime priority of future security.

Yankees bring back another familiar arm.

The Yankees seem intent on stocking their minor league system with pitchers that have pitched for the Yankees before. First Nestor Cortes Jr., then Adam Warren, and now they have signed to a minor league contract, Tyler Lyons. Lyons. This is a head-scratcher. Lyons pitched in one game for the Yankees during 2020. On September 23rd, he pitched 1.2 innings giving up four earned runs for an ERA of 21.60, in a 14-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

During the second half of the 2019 season, Lyons pitched 8.2 innings in 11 games with a 0-1 record and an ERA of 4.15. Of the three notable arms the Yankees could use in the bullpen, Lyons has been the least successful. Meanwhile, the New York Yankees still need a quality arm to replace Tommy Kahnle, who has gone with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The New York Yankees still need bullpen help.

The Yankees lost Tommy Kahnle last season when he required Tommy John surgery. The Yankees chose to assign him to the minor leagues, and Kahnle refused the move and chose free agency instead and was near immediately signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Behind closer Aroldis Chapman and Zack Britton, Kahnle was likely their third-best arm in the bullpen. That is a glaring hole in the bullpen, considering that Adam Ottavino has had two subpar seasons in a row.

The Yankees once had the best bullpen in the sport, but with these deficiencies, the bullpen is now in dire need of at least one premium upgrade. So far, all they have done is sign previous Yankees that have not done all that well at the Stadium. The Yankees need an arm with the quality of Liam Hendriks, Yates, or Hand. A previous target Ryan Stanek has gone to the Houston Astros. Because of cost, the Yankees will not likely sign Hendriks, but Brad Hand is a quality arm at a more economical price. Hand had a 2.05 ERA in 2020 with a strikeout rate approaching 12 per nine innings.

Padres/Mets still the teams to watch in 2021

While the New York Yankees have done nearly nothing to improve the team in 2021, the San Diego Padres have been the big movers and shakers along with New York Mets. The Padres made a big trade when they got Black Snell from The Tampa Bay Rays. They then negotiated a trade for another ace, Yu Darvish from the Cubs. But they weren’t done; they are now close to re-signing Fernando Tatis Jr. to a massive $300 million contract for the next 11 years.

Meanwhile, on the other side of New York in Queens, the New York Mets shook up the New York sports scene when they traded for the best shortstop in baseball in Franciso Lindor. Suppose that wasn’t one of the most notable trades of the offseason they also got Carlos Carrasco in the deal. Carrasco is a quality number two type pitcher that the Yankees certainly could have used. New Mets owner Steve Cohen has made it known that he wants to make the Mets the premier baseball team in New York City.

New York Yankees lose more chances to upgrade starting pitching

With each passing day, the Yankees need to upgrade their starting rotation remains the same. Earlier, they lost their best chance to upgrade the rotation with a one-year signing of Charlie Morton. Morton was available, but the Atlanta Braves scooped him up for just $15 million. The Yankees have also talked about re-signing Mashiro Tanaka, but his agent has been advised that they will not negotiate until they know if they can sign DJ LeMahieu.

Trevor Bauer is the best starting pitcher still available in free agency, but the Yankees are likely not in the picture to sign him as they want to stay under the luxury tas threshold. Mike Minor has already signed with the Kansas City Royals. That leaves Jake Odorizzi and Tanaka as the next best two arms the Yankees could use. Odorizzi had a great 2019 but an injury-riddled 2020. He made $17 million last year, but with his poor 2020, he will likely sign a contract of less value. The same is true of Tanaka; he made $23 million. The Yankees are not likely to offer him more than half of that and only for a year or two.




Yankees call up a familiar face; send Heller to the IL and King to the alternate training site

The New York Yankees made a couple of transactions before the first pitch of Tuesday night’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays. In an attempt to refresh the pitching corps, specifically the bullpen, the Bombers purchased the contract of left-handed pitcher Tyler Lyons.

Lyons is a 32-year old reliever with plenty of big league experience. His best years came with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he pitched from 2013 to 2018 with success and was a mainstay in the bullpen. He found himself with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2019.

With the Bucs, Lyons struggled to the tune of a 11.25 ERA in four innings of work. He allowed six hits and five runs, with three bases on balls and five strikeouts. His 2.25 WHIP left a lot to be desired.

He had a good run with the Yankees

However, the New York Yankees rescued him and he had a good run in September 2019, with eight frames of a 4.15 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. He punched out an impressive 12 hitters with only two walks over that timeframe.

Lyons had success with the Yankees on the strength of his slider, which he began using more in the Bronx. He is hoping to enjoy similar success a year later and help the team in the last few games of the season.

In other moves, the Yankees placed right-handed hurler Ben Heller on the 60-day injured list with a right biceps nerve injury. He had conceded a couple of runs on five hits and two walks over six innings of relief this year with the Bombers.

The Yankees also optioned righty Mike King to their alternate training site. The young pitcher had a role in Monday’s loss to the Blue Jays, as he allowed five earned runs over just 2 2/3 innings. He has a 7.76 ERA and 26/11 K/BB ratio in 26 2/3 total frames in the 2020 season.