1. David Phelps
Former Yankee swingman David Phelps’ free agency went so quickly it almost seemed like he and the Toronto Blue Jays already had an agreement on a minor-league pact before anything could really develop.
Phelps allowed just a single earned run in 11 appearances in 2021, but was lost for the season in May … only to find himself a Jay once again when the campaign wrapped, earning a minor-league deal with an invitation to Spring Training. When he arrives in Florida, he’ll have a very good chance to break camp with the big-league roster (seemingly) as long as everything looks right.
Again, it feels like something was clearly winked at and promised there. But regardless, a Yankees reunion with Phelps would’ve been a wise move for the Bombers and an upgrade on Peacock.
Phelps was a valuable young innings eater during his Yankee days back in 2012-2014, eventually topping 113 innings with a 4.38 ERA in 32 games (17 starts) in ’14 before he was dealt to the Miami Marlins in the … Nathan Eovaldi trade. What a throwback.
Phelps transitioned to a full-time relief role in 2017 and has only made two “starts” since.
Is he a “sure thing”? Of course not! For as strong as he looked in 2021, he looked equally weak the previous year, logging 7.2 innings in empty ballparks with the Philadelphia Phillies while sporting an unsightly 12.91. He began the campaign with the Brew Crew (2.77 ERA!) and ended it catching Phillies Bullpen Brain Disease.
That uncertainty, combined with his injury status, equated to a minor-league deal for a certified major leaguer. Shame the Yankees weren’t involved.