We all remember it. And don’t try to say you didn’t contribute! You did. You groaned and slapped your desk when news broke that the New York Yankees were trading for Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Clay Holmes in their first deal ahead of the deadline. We did too!
On top of that, they sent Hoy Park, who fans were hoping to see contribute at the big-league level, packing in the agreement. What the hell, Brian Cashman?!
Before arriving in the Bronx, Holmes had 91 games under his belt as a 28-year-old. He carried a 5.57 ERA, 1.64 WHIP and not-so-great 4.71 FIP. He walked a ton of batters (6.3 BB/9). What’s to like here?!
Holmes had a number of things going for him in 2021, though — things outside of the box score. He largely induces soft contact and avoids barrels. His “expected” numbers are much better than his actual ones, which could’ve been the result of being stuck in Pittsburgh.
Are we starting to see the version of Holmes the Yankees were hoping for in the Bronx? He’s appeared in four games thus far and doesn’t have a blemish on his resume in pinstripes.
That sinker-slider-curveball mix seems to be working just fine in the bullpen.
Did Yankees fans judge the Clay Holmes trade too early?
It’s certainly been positive so far, but let’s not lose sight of what’s happened. Holmes has just three strikeouts in his 4.2 innings of work, has faced the Marlins and Orioles, and has been the beneficiary of some stellar defensive efforts that otherwise would have resulted in extra bases or even runs. Also, his first inning as a Yankee came when the team was down 14-0 to the Rays.
If not for this Tyler Wade full extension web gem at third base, who know’s what happens after the sixth inning against Miami.
Also, Aaron Judge took extra bases away from Cedric Mullins on Wednesday night with one of the best outfield assists you’ll see all year. That hit was also a few feet away from being a solo homer. Holmes left a hanger over the plate on an 0-1 count.
Ya, let’s please avoid those hangers, Clay. The stuff is nasty but we can’t be giving lefty sluggers free passes like that.
Let’s put it this way: the jury is still out, but Holmes’ start has given the organization a reason to believe he can be a more integral bullpen piece than Luis Cessa, Justin Wilson, Michael King and the others who largely haven’t worked out in 2021.
At the very least, this move cannot be judged unfavorably … yet. Let’s keep the positivity going, though, because the Yankees seem like they’re starting to do something.