Mazzaro was a key player in the Pirates’ bullpen last season, posting a 2.81 ERA and a 1.208 WHIP in 73.2 innings pitched. This year however, he failed to make the team out of spring training and was sent to the minor leagues.
Since being recalled in early May, he’s posted decent numbers but has struggled in a few key categories. In 2013, he gave up only 3 home runs but he’s already given up 2 in less than a month this year. Also, according to Fangraphs, his average fastball velocity has dipped from 93.2 to 91.3 miles per hour since last season.
Another difference that has been noticeable with Mazzaro since last season is his ability to induce ground balls. According to Fangraphs, he got batters to hit the ball on the ground 52.2 percent of the time. This year however, that number has dropped to 43.8 percent.
The Yankees have had a solid bullpen thus far in 2014, so why add a struggling pitcher with declining velocity?
The Bombers should grab Mazzaro if he elects free agency (the other option is a return to the minor leagues) because their bullpen may be overworked due to the high number of injuries in their starting rotation. They will need pitchers like Dellin Betances and Adam Warren to have something left by the end of the season if they have any hope of reaching the playoffs.
Also, if the righty (Mazzaro) can turn his season around, he could be quite valuable to the team.
When effective, he would be the perfect pitcher to have on the mound in a tight game when a double play is needed.
Besides, it’s not as if he’s going to command a high salary (originally scheduled to make $1 million this year). If he doesn’t pitch well, no harm done.