The New York Yankees have put their faith in many different types of risky commodities this year.
We’ve seen relievers with good peripherals and bad results come to town on a budget. We’ve watched veterans attempt to bounce back from serious injuries, or reverse the aging curve one last time.
Very rarely have we seen the Yankees simply acquire … a good player without a lot of finger-crossing involved.
Such is the world of balling under the luxury tax threshold.
All that said, we have definitely seen the Yankees hit on a few of their offseason gambles so far, and there haven’t been many outright failures.
Justin Wilson certainly counts as a swing-and-a-miss right now, but when you can add a previously-solid reliever at that cost, you do it. We shouldn’t see him anymore in high-leverage situations, but that made sense and still does.
Corey Kluber provided No. 2 upside and a no-hitter before disappearing, and though we have no idea how long it’ll be until he’s back, people with the organization are currently optimistic? Hold please.
Jameson Taillon is under-performing his peripherals and could use a third pitch, but with the rotation a strength right now, it’s hard to throw lightning bolts at that acquisition, either. He’s no Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre, the Yankees’ No. 4 and 5 starters the last time they won the World Series.
No, like … actually.
With these caveats in mind, these are the two additions we believe have most rewarded the Yankees’ faith in them since the time they were acquired, as well as the one player who hasn’t provided enough.
Yankees: 2 pickups who’ve justified team’s faith and 1 who hasn’t.
Yankees Win: Wandy Peralta
The Yankees traded outfield option Mike Tauchman, under control through 2024, midway through the season to add lefty reliever Wandy Peralta to an already-excellent bullpen (along with a player to be named later with an extremely cool name). A few days later, Aaron Hicks went down for the count, and the Bombers were left with very few outfielders.
Another blunder? Somehow, not exactly.
One of only two Wandies in MLB history (shoutout to Wandy Rodriguez), Peralta arrived to the Yankees coming off a strong 2020 but sporting a 5.40 ERA to start the season in San Francisco. The team believed in his peripherals, though; he’s ranked towards the top of the league in average exit velocity, hard-hit percentage, and can spin the ball well enough to post a top chase rate.
All of these elements intrigued the Yankees, and thus far, Peralta’s largely delivered the goods. Has he been Aroldis Chapman? No. He’ll never been a ‘pen ace or an eighth-inning fireballer (unless pressed into active duty by a bullpen shortage). More often than not, he’s been used in high-leverage situations, though, posting a 3.86 ERA through his first 9.1 innings pitched, showing off a wipeout slider and impressive heat.
Tauchman, as much as we wanted to love him, has made a few impressive defensive plays with the Giants (like robbing an Albert Pujols walk-off), but is still hitting in the .190s. Peralta, along with the PTBNL, seems to be a better bet right now, as the Yanks believed when they hit “send” on the deal.