It appears the heavy lifting for the New York Yankees is done this offseason — yup, we kind of can’t believe Brett Gardner really might not be returning — but general manager Brian Cashman understands the importance of possessing the necessary reinforcements heading into a new league year.
That’s why he went out and signed former Marlins, Nationals and Giants reliever Kyle Barraclough to a minor-league contract on Tuesday. Big moves! Another potential veteran arm to contribute to the pitching staff in a year the Yankees understand depth will be crucial on all fronts if they want to achieve their World Series aspirations.
Barraclough, 30, hasn’t pitched since 2019, however, so we wouldn’t get too excited about this. But again, another high upside move that can only help.
The right-hander was among the best Marlins relievers from 2015-2017, which is cool. He then closed some games in 2018, but regressed a bit and registered a 4.20 ERA and 1.33 WHIP across 61 games. But in the prior three campaigns, he owned a 2.87 ERA in 166 games and was pumping 96 on his fastball.
Since then, his velocity has declined and he got absolutely tattooed in 2019 with the Nats (6.66 ERA and 1.75 WHIP in 33 games). He was then claimed off waivers by the Giants and registered a 2.25 ERA and 1.75 WHIP in 10 games. Not bad, but the problems were still somewhat evident.
An especially not great sign? His 4.98 and 6.36 FIP in 2018 and 2019, which were markedly worse than his 2015-2017 numbers.
Nonetheless, a year off may have helped him regain some sort of his sense of self. He has a four-pitch mix now after introducing a cutter in 2019, which now joins his four-seam fastball, slider and changeup. Throw in the motivation that comes with competing for a bullpen spot for the New York Yankees, and perhaps the Bombers get themselves a productive middle relief guy.
Another potential aspect of his game to get excited about? He’s got 319 strikeouts in 252.2 career innings. He sat down 113 batters in 72.2 innings during his career year back in 2016. Let’s see what he’s got come spring training.