Should They Stay or Go? (RP: 1 of 2)
The Yankees have a lot of decisions to make this offseason, one could say there's bound to a "clash" of opinions. Let's talk about it.
Today I will be discussing the Yankees main relief pitchers.
Bold statistics led Yankees relievers
2022 Statistics: 43 Games, 19 Games Finished, 4-4 Record (.500 WP%), 9 Saves, 4.46 ERA (88 ERA+), 36.1 IP, 43 K's (10.7 K/9), 1.431 WHIP (4.57 FIP), -0.2 bWAR/-0.2 fWAR
Contract Status: Set to be a free agent
Starting off with the reliever that has both the most experience in the MLB and the most expensive contract on the Yankees, we get Aroldis Chapman. In his 7 seasons as a Yankee, he has been a 3-time All-Star and was a powerhouse as a closer. Those days are over.
Aroldis Chapman has fallen off the cliff. For the first time in his career he produced to a negative bWAR and fWAR while pitching his fewest innings, to his highest ERA, WHIP, FIP, BB/9, and lowest K/9 in a full season since his first call up to the MLB in 2010. (It was also his 3rd fewest saves in a season, behind his 1 in 2011 and 0 in 2010.) The problem was that Chapman completely forgot how to throw strikes and an appearance where he'd walk multiple people was far too common.
It should also be noted that Chapman had to be placed on the 15-Day IL at the end of August from this past season for a skin infection on his leg after getting a bad tattoo. He then also left the team before the postseason after skipping a voluntary workout after he was not promised a spot on the roster.
The Verdict: If the poor game performance wasn't enough of a deterrent to the idea of bringing back Aroldis Chapman, the tattoo incident and postseason absence were icing on the cake. His $16 Million per year will have the potential to be spent in much better places.
2022 Statistics: 62 Games, 32 Games Finished, 7-4 Record (.636 WP%), 20 Saves, 2.54 ERA (154 ERA+), 63.2 IP, 65 K's (9.2 K/9), 1.021 WHIP (2.85 FIP), +1.3 bWAR/+1.1 fWAR
Contract Status: Heading into Arbitration 2; Under Contract through 2024
We're now going from the former Yankees closer to the man who made Aroldis Chapman's early season loss due to an Achilles problem not a loss. Clay Holmes was absolutely dominant in the first half of the season, fell a bit in the second half (around some injuries- which may have been more of a phantom stint to give him a break), and still finished out the year as one of the Yankees biggest threats for opposing teams in the bullpen.
It was a strange trade that brought Holmes (who at the time was a career 5.57 ERA pitcher) when the Yankees traded Diego Castillo and Hoy Jun Park, but I have to give Cashman credit here. He found a great reliever who pitched into his first All-Star Game this past season. Heck, he managed a 0.46 ERA on July 9th and even with a very poor end of July and August (and an average September), he finished the very with a 2.54 ERA. With a little more consistency to take out the horrible games, Clay Holmes is going to be a serious threat. Now we just have to see if he can match his 2022 again.
The Verdict: The Yankees are likely going to go into 2023 with Clay Holmes as the scheduled closer, revamping the role that he earned in the first half of 2022 and was able to hold on to after coming back from injury. With a bullpen set to lose some veteran arms, the Yankees are not in a position to trade away any of their young stars.
2022 Statistics: 56 Games, 18 Games Finished, 3-4 Record (.429 WP%, 4 Saves, 2.72 ERA (144 ERA+), 56.1 IP, 47 K's (7.5 K/9), 1.047 WHIP (2.86 FIP), +1.1 bWAR/+1.0 fWAR
Contract Status: Heading into Arbitration 4; Under Contract through 2023
Talking about relievers that the Yankees brought in on good trades (if there is one thing Cashman does well, it is building a bullpen), we get to Wandy Peralta. Would you believe the Yankees got Wandy Peralta for Mike Tauchman? He played just 64 for the Giants and is now in the KBO. Peralta has passed 100 games as a Yankee, and has pitched to a 2.82 ERA during that time.
I could spend this time talking about his in-season performances, but what Wandy Peralta did this postseason deserves the time instead. He was a great in-season bullpen piece and an even better arm out of the bullpen, especially in the ALDS. For the first time in MLB history, a pitcher was used in all 5 games of a division series. Now, this isn't super impressive as the AL/NLDS have only been around since 1981, yet it is still telling. The Yankees heavily relied on him and he produced. That alone is going to keep him in the good graces of the organization and fans going into 2023.
The Verdict: Wandy Peralta should have no worries about his spot on this team going forward. He's going to be a dependable set-up man who will be playing for a big pay day in his first chance free agency as a 32-year-old after the season. Go after it, Wandy!
2022 Statistics: 50 Games, 18 Games Finished, 4-4 Record (.500 WP%), 2 Saves, 2.67 ERA (147 ERA+), 57.1 IP, 60 K's (9.4 K/9), 1.395 WHIP (3.03 FIP), +0.7 bWAR/+0.9 fWAR
Contract Status: Heading into Arbitration 2; Under Contract through 2024
Talking about older relievers, we get to Lucas Luetge. He's been a surprise piece in the Yankees bullpen these past two seasons, being a feel-good story after having a brief MLB stint from 2012-2015 that saw him get stuck in the minor leagues afterwards. He bounced around for a couple seasons and then the Yankees took a chance on him, where he gave them a strong 2021 (2.74 ERA over 72.1 IP).
This past season, Luetge showed that 2021 wasn't a fluke. He kept up a mid-2's ERA, gave the Yankees a good mid-bullpen piece that could occasionally give more than an inning and hold them in a close game.
The Verdict: It might seem kind of crazy that I am about to say this, but the Yankees should seriously consider trading Lucas Luetge this offseason. I'm usually Mr. "Bring in the Left Hander" (though I often get confused who is and who isn't a lefty). Luetge is going to be entering his age 36 season, his peripheral numbers weren't great- especially the 1.395 WHIP- and he has value with having 2 more years under control.
2022 Statistics: 34 Games, 10 Games Finished, 6-3 Record (.667 WP%), 1 Saves, 2.29 ERA (171 ERA+), 51.0 IP, 66 K's (11.6 K/9), 1.000 WHIP (2.23 FIP), +1.8 bWAR/+1.7 fWAR
Contract Status: Heading into Arbitration 1; Under Contract through 2025
What else to say about Michael King's 2022 season? My Dad and I keep talking about it, but his Strat-o-Matic card is going to be tremendous. Him and Aaron Judge are going to have incredible cards. I can't even imagine. He only pitched until the end of July and even then he pitched enough innings to be considered a solid amount for a reliever, while putting up some of the best numbers on the team.
The big question with King isn't about if he'll come back, but when. The latest reports are that he will able to miss needing Tommy John surgery, so he should be on track to start 2023 in the Yankees bullpen again. We can only hope.
The Verdict: Slot King is as the replacement to losing Aroldis Chapman. The Yankees are going to be fine without him. We have a King.
2022 Statistics: 40 Games, 8 Games Finished, 1-0 Record (1.000 WP%), 0 Saves, 2.05 ERA (192 ERA+), 44.0 IP, 56 K's (11.5 K/9), 1.045 WHIP (3.20 FIP), +1.2 bWAR/+0.4 fWAR
Contract Status: In Pre-Arbitration; Under Contract for a while
Ron Marinaccio is the reason why I'm not worried about the Yankees shopping around Lucas Luetge. Ron Marinaccio is yet another reliever built up from the Yankees farm system who produced to some tremendous statistics this past season. Creating strong relievers is the one thing that the Yankees consistently do very well. Ron Marinaccio is yet another player to prove that again.
The Verdict: With Jonathan "Lasagna" Loaisiga already in the bullpen, it's nice to have Ron "Marinara" Marinaccio helping him out. Is that silly? Yes. But I'm okay with the silliness when the pitchers are this good.
Check back tomorrow as we discuss another 6 notable relievers from this past season and what to do with them going forward