The Yankees have added an intriguing Phillies minor league arm in a surprise trade.
They got a little bit of it on Friday afternoon, and it came from a team with the worst bullpen in the majors — how?
New York dealt for 25-year-old Phillies reliever Addison Russ, and assigned him to the Alternate Site in Scranton.
The kid’s numbers look pristine, which has the whole baseball world asking: Who is this guy, and why wasn’t he with the Phils already?
Philadelphia, fresh off blowing a 7-0 lead to Toronto in a seven-inning game, probably could’ve used a righty who’s whiffed 200 in 152.2 innings pitched?
Addison Russ, who is luckily not Addison Russell and never will be, does have some wicked coke bottle glasses that we can definitely get behind. Looking like a cross between Joe Harvey and Tommy Hunter, Russ has dominated at Lakewood, Clearwater, and Double-A Reading over the past two seasons, never posting an ERA above 2.54.
That was his mark last season, and it also came with 80 whiffs in 56.2 innings pitched against 20 walks at the Double-A level.
Unfortunately, in order too get their hands on Russ, the Yankees did have to surrender a Scranton Shuttle favorite in David Hale.
Hale could be a stabilizing force for Philadelphia, but he has very little upside amid his calm and composure.
Sometimes, the Yankees trade for fringe pieces with potential that don’t get a second look at the time, but then turn into core roster members (Mike Tauchman and Gio Urshela).
Russ may never be the Yanks’ fire-breathing closer, but you don’t have to angle your head very much to see the clear upgrade and steal potential here. It won’t take “retrospect” to see that the Yankees could very well have just done it again.