The New York Yankees have three lefties in their bullpen at the moment with Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton and Justin Wilson, all of whom throw hard. Could they use a fourth?
When Lucas Luetge was signed to a minor league contract this offseason, fans didn’t think much of it. He hadn’t pitched in the bigs since 2015 and missed the entire 2018 and 2020 seasons.
But he’s a lefty, and given the Yankees’ need for such a situational arm in the bullpen since Britton and Chapman are reserved for the setup man and closer roles, there was always going to be intrigue about whether he could perform during his one chance at spring training.
So far, he’s done just that. In fact, he’s been absolutely filthy.
The Yankees went out and got themselves a deceptive arm in right-hander Darren O’Day, whose side-arm delivery and low velocity will throw opposing lineups off when he’s coming out of the bullpen.
How many left-handed experiments have failed over the last few years? Luis Avilan. Stephen Tarpley. Nestor Cortes Jr. Chasen Shreve. Tommy Layne. All of those guys were used to varying degrees and did not work. The Bombers love to play matchups but somehow thought they could get by with these guys in middle relief. Nope!
Now, Luetge presents them with an intriguing scenario. Carry another lefty in the bullpen alongside Wilson, Britton and Chapman to give manager Aaron Boone ever more flexibility in that department.
Though it’s more likely Luetge will be stashed at Triple-A, if he continues on this trajectory (or even 75% of it) for the remainder of the spring, don’t we think he’d make a case for an Opening Day roster spot? After all, Wilson just started facing hitters in live BP a few days ago.
Throw Boone’s comments into the mix, and we’re really not sure what to think.
It’s a tough situation all around since someone will have to be left off the roster, but when you consider Clarke Schmidt’s injury, the likelihood Deivi Garcia will begin the year in Triple-A, the recent development revealing Albert Abreu has one more option left, and the uncertainty surrounding the effectiveness of Michael King and Brooks Kriske, perhaps Luetge could force the issue if he keeps turning heads.