Yankees: Mets sign former NYY lefty in latest warning

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 30: Stephen Tarpley #71 of the New York Yankees pitches during the MLB London Series game between Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees at London Stadium on June 30, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 30: Stephen Tarpley #71 of the New York Yankees pitches during the MLB London Series game between Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees at London Stadium on June 30, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images) /
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The Mets have signed former Yankees lefty Stephen Tarpley. Copycats!

Every once in a while, a player comes around who captures the hearts and minds of Yankees fans for his special “je ne sais quoi” that makes him different from any other ballplayer.

Stephen Tarpley was not that player — nice guy, though!

But Yankees fans are on edge these days after watching Francisco Lindor — and, more importantly, Carlos Carrasco — end up on their crosstown semi-rivals the New York Mets. And Steve Cohen’s latest move might be a bridge too far.

The Mets claimed Tarpley on Friday after his lone year in Miami, and as far as embittered Yankees supporters are concerned, this might as well be lefty Mariano Rivera.

Bring back the black jerseys now, Uncle Stevie! As black as your heart! We dare you!

Tarpley was bizarrely terrible in his Yankees career — almost impossibly so, considering his very projectable strikeout numbers. Picked up from the Pirates, the lefty whiffed 34 men in 24.2 innings in 2019, highlighted by a few spectacular outings (one memorable appearance came at the tail end of a blowout win over the Rockies in late July). However, his ERA was an unsightly 6.93 (really bad!), and it ballooned all the way up to 9.00 for the Miami Marlins last season after Tarpley was tendered his release by the Bombers.

Miami was very kind to the lefty on his way up north to their division rival. But what wasn’t kind? The Mets’ brazen attempt to sway the Yankees’ faithful by picking up one of their favorite players of all time for chump change.

As if this borough wasn’t riled up enough already after the Lindor trade created a great new shortstop rivalry between Mr. Smile and Glasses Gleyber (uh, and potentially also Andrelton Simmons or something), this might just set the rivalry into hyperdrive.

You watch what you’re doing, Mr. Cohen. You watch it right now. If you sign Neil Walker to a minor-league contract, it’s over.