Yankees add Cubs reliever with tons of team control in MLB trade deadline coup


With the MLB trade deadline fast approaching, there’s only one source you need tweet notifications turned on for if you don’t want to miss a Yankees scoop: the great Jack Curry. A few days after Curry was spot-on in breaking the Andrew Benintendi trade news, he sprinted to the finish line and delivered the news of an intriguing reliever arrival on Monday morning.

Clay Holmes’ blown save against the Royals Sunday magnified the team’s need for reliable relievers down the stretch, as if Michael King’s injury hadn’t already clarified that surprising weakness.

Both Jonathan Loaisiga and Aroldis Chapman have looked, er, better of late, but neither can be trusted in the eighth or ninth inning of a tight game, at the moment, unless by necessity.

So, in order to lessen that necessity, the Yankees acquired Cubs reliever Scott Effross the day before the deadline.

“Cubs relievers” have been a white-hot deadline commodity, but instead of running things back with David Robertson or acquiring Mychal Givens, the Yanks managed to swing a deal for Effross, a rookie who will be sticking around through 2027. 

Yankees trade for Cubs reliever Scott Effross

Effross’ coming out party in 2022 has included a 2.66 ERA/2.16 FIP, with 50 whiffs in 44 innings pitched in Chicago. Workload, sadly, could be just as much of an issue for Effross as it has been for the incumbent Yankees, but with precious little available at the deadline, Brian Cashman did well to acquire someone who should factor into the bullpen picture for many years beyond the current season.

The 28-year-old Effross also rates out spectacularly in terms of his Statcast metrics, featuring a 97th percentile xWOBA, 96th percent chase rate, and 74th percentile walk percentage. More impressive, Effross gets all this done with 12th-percentile fastball velocity, keeping hitters off balance with a mixture of offspeed gold.

The cost? Sadly, you had to know the Yankees wouldn’t be able to obtain 5.5 years of upper-level bullpen production without giving up something, and have cleared No. 7 prospect Hayden Wesneski out of the upper levels of their farm system. Ken Waldichuk remains safe … for now.

The Yankees’ recent deadlines have represented a tale of two different aggression levels. In 2020, with an “anything can happen!” postseason ahead of them, Cashman sacrificed zero chips for present glory, and the team stalled out in the ALDS. Last season, the Yanks needed a grand injection of life to even compete for a postseason berth, so Anthony Rizzo (and, yes, Joey Gallo) were deemed necessary.

This year, Cashman holds the reins to a contender that’s beginning to rip at the seams. The Effross deal, combined with Andrew Benintendi’s acquisition, ideally represents the start of a transaction wave.

Effross, though, is in place far longer than Benny, helping a sputtering bullpen in the long-term, too, with a very unique addition.