Yankees: Could last year’s trade with Phillies pan out?


Before the 2020 trade deadline, the New York Yankees struck a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies and sent over pitcher David Hale in exchange for prospect Addison Russ. And that was it.

This is how you gear up for a postseason run?!

The truth is, there weren’t many trading opportunities last season, but perhaps this one ends up helping the Yanks in 2021. Why? Because they need more help in the bullpen after parting ways with Adam Ottavino and Jonathan Holder in addition to not knowing how effective guys like Jonathan Loaisiga, Nick Nelson, Luis Cessa and Michael King will be.

The 26-year-old Russ, who has yet to pitch above Double-A and lost his 2020 season due to the global pandemic, will get to show the Yankees what he’s got in Spring Training. He received a big-league invite, according to reports.

Will the Yankees get some unexpected bullpen help from Addison Russ?

Is this a guy the Yankees could potentially rely upon to eat up innings out of the bullpen? Across three minor league seasons, Russ owns an impressive 2.48 ERA and 1.09 WHIP with 200 strikeouts across 152.2 innings. He also racked up 22 saves during his 2019 campaign, which was featured fully at Double-A.

More good news? His FIP aligns with that ERA nicely. That’s the stuff we like to see. Russ can pump 96 MPH on his fastball but also throws a slider and splitter, the latter of which he’s drastically improved upon after Bryce Harper told him he was tipping that pitch in Spring Training of last year.

Oh by the way, Russ appeared in six games that spring, allowing just one run on five hits and three walks across 5.2 innings of work. He struck out five batters. Not bad!

At the very least, Russ can offer some competition and light a fire under the aforementioned guys, most of whom need to carve out a role for themselves ASAP or else they’ll be headed elsewhere. The Yankees bullpen outside of Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton and Chad Green is largely undefined, and that needs to be fixed now that Ottavino is gone.

In the event Russ does end up making the 40-man, at least we’ll be able to sit back and laugh at the Phillies for getting rid of a pitcher they probably could’ve used this year as they look to compete in a loaded NL East.