Yankees trade Nestor Cortes Jr. to Mariners for international signing bonus pool money
The Yankees traded LHP Nestor Cortes Jr. to the Seattle Mariners on Monday in exchange for international signing bonus pool money. The move comes less than a week after New York designated him for assignment along with 1B Greg Bird.
Cortes Jr. made 33 appearances for the Yankees last season and posted a 5.67 ERA with 69 strikeouts over 66.2 innings of work. He spent the majority of the season in the big leagues and made a nice impact out of the pen during the first half of the year.
However, after the All-Star break, the crafty left-hander really struggled. He posted a 6.49 ERA and allowed 10 HR in just 34.2 IP. His worst month of the season came in September when he had an ERA of 12.10 and opponents hit .404 against him. The way he finished the season likely cost him a spot on the Yankees postseason roster and as it turned out it probably cost him a spot on next year’s club as well.
Cortes isn’t an overpowering pitcher at all and relies mostly on deception to be successful by using different arm angles and deliveries to mess with a hitter’s timing. At times it was fun to watch and it worked for him early on but once August hit it seemed like the more he pitched the harder he got hit.
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This is obviously a minor move by the Yanks but it’s good they got something in return for Cortes instead of just straight up releasing him or sending him back to Triple-A Scranton. The Yankees are always very active on the international market and will put that extra bonus pool money to good use. Now we’ll see if they can do the same for Greg Bird.
I’m sure the decision to designate him and Cortes for assignment was a difficult one but it had to be done in order to protect some of their top prospects from being eligible for next month’s Rule 5 draft. Cortes especially became expendable after his terrible September and was on the shortlist of players who were in danger of losing their spot on the 40-man roster.
His Yankee tenure ended poorly but for most of last season Cortes proved he could be an effective long reliever out of the pen and should get the opportunity to fill a similar role with Seattle.