MLB insider Jon Heyman reported that the New York Yankees have spoken to relief pitchers Héctor Neris, Phil Maton, Ryan Brasier and Wandy Peralta as the team seeks more bullpen depth at a relatively low cost before the 2024 season starts.
“They are alleged to be making low offers, perhaps due to the calendar or a supply-demand perception,” Heyman wrote for the New York Post. “They could instead bring back Keynan Middleton instead. He’d cost less.”
Heyman added that the Yankees are worried about spending big on free agent pitching because of their experience with Carlos Rodón, who signed a six-year, $162 million contract with New York in 2022 then pitched for a dismal 6.85 ERA in 14 starts during an injury-plagued 2023 season.
That experience may explain why Blake Snell’s $270 million asking price has stood in the way of a deal with the Yankees.
The New York Yankees Are Targeting Budget Bullpen Depth This Offseason
The Yankees have been tied to numerous relief pitchers this offseason and are largely expected to bolster their bullpen before Opening Day. But the 2023 unit performed exceptionally well, pitching for MLB’s lowest ERA at 3.34 while giving up its second-fewest homers and netting above-average save and strikeout totals.
That might explain why the Yankees are only willing to spend a limited amount of money for additional late-inning pitching. Plus, the team has often taken a high-churn, low-cost approach to the relief corps.
How Each New York Yankees’ Relief Pitching Target Might Impact the 2024 Season
Neris would be a more premium option out of the reported list of candidates, with a 3.24 ERA, 676 strikeouts and 89 saves in a 10-year career. He has been asking for a one- or two-year contract in the $7 million to $10 million range.
Maton, who was Neris’ teammate with the Houston Astros last year, has worse career numbers over seven years at a 4.25 ERA with 398 total strikeouts and just two total saves. He signed a one-year, $2.55 million contract last season and is likely to earn a similar deal for 2024.
Brasier, meanwhile, might be the type of under-the-radar addition that has often made the Yankees’ bullpen so great. He struggled for the Boston Red Sox in 2022 and in the first half of 2023, but then had an excellent second half with the Los Angeles Dodgers, pitching for a 0.70 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 38.2 innings. Betting on him to repeat that would be a risk, and the dollar figure of a deal in 2024 would probably reflect that, but Brasier might bring high upside.
Peralta has been projected to earn a deal in the two-year, $18 million range this offseason, and he pitched amiably for the Yankees in 2023 by maintaining a 2.83 ERA and netting 51 strikeouts across 54 innings.
And finally, Middleton is likely to be the cheapest disclosed candidate. He pitched for a 1.88 ERA and 17 strikeouts in just 14.1 innings after joining the Yankees from the Chicago White Sox right before the trade deadline last season.
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