Yankees Sign Veteran Reliever Tommy Layne to MLB Contract


The New York Yankees have bolstered their depleted bullpen by signing 31-year-old lefty reliever Tommy Layne to a major league deal Tuesday.

Not the most exciting move in the world, but the Yankees probably made their bullpen incrementally better on Tuesday by adding veteran lefty Tommy Layne.

The former 26th round draft pick back in 2007 has emerged as a solid lefty-on-lefty matchup guy the last few years, compiling a 3.21 ERA in 102.1 career MLB innings .

He first cracked the big leagues at age 27 with the Padres. After two years in San Diego, Layne signed as a free agent with the Boston Red Sox in 2013. Layne has been a useful pitcher for the Sox the last three seasons.

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Here is his scouting report from Sox Prospects:

"Lefty converted to relief full-time in 2012. Fastball sits 87-89 mph, topping out in the low-90s with arm-side run. Average command. Also throws a 78-81 mph slider and a 82-84 mph cutter. Utilizes both a sidearm and over-the-top delivery. Ceiling of a lefty specialist."

He certainly hasn’t pitched badly this year, with a 3.77 ERA and 7.8 K/9 in 28.2 innings of work. It seems as if the Red Sox just didn’t have a need for him after acquiring lefty Fernando Abad at the August 1sr trade deadline.

Boston designated Layne for assignment to make room for Abad, and then chose to release him outright on August 6th.

It seems likely that the Yankees will reassign lefty reliever Richard Bleier back to Triple-A Scranton Wilke-Barre to make room on the big league roster for Layne. The 29-year-old rookie has pitched well for the Yankees this year (3.38 ERA in 13.1 IP), but has only pitched 2.2 innings since the All Star break for whatever reason. 

At the very least, Layne has a longer major league track record than Bleier. The Yankees are very short on viable lefthanded relievers after trading Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller for prospects at the trade deadline.

Fellow lefty reliever Chasen Shreve is another option to be demoted to clear a spot for Layne, but he is generally regarded as a more promising arm overall, even with his continuing struggles this year (4.07 ERA and 2.6 HR/9)

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Tommy Layne isn’t arbitration eligible until after next season and has four years of team control remaining following 2016. He won’t move the needle much, but is a solid complimentary piece for the team’s bullpen going forward.