Yankees steal reliever from Rays thanks to Tampa Bay roster crunch

The New York Yankees improved their bullpen significantly at the 2022 MLB trade deadline by importing Scott Effross of the Cubs and Lou Trivino of the A’s. But did they do enough? Michael King is out for the season, following in Chad Green’s footsteps. Even if Effross slides into an eighth inning role and Trivino shakes off his BABIP, there’s still room for some unknown quantities to grab hold of a roster spot.

Unfortunately, without the August trade deadline, there’s no way for contending teams to obtain additional arms unless someone gets released (hello, Dinelson Lamet, new Rockie!). That’s why the Yankees struck and grabbed an ex-Ray on Friday, capturing one of Tampa Bay’s fungible bullpen options for the second time this season.

Last time, it was the mustachioed David McKay, who the Yankees purchased after spring training. In two garbage time appearances, he walked two, didn’t allow a run, and wound up eventually appearing for the Rays and A’s after the Yankees let him go at the end of June.

And now, in early August, it’s Luke Bard, who you may recall from being one of the nameless, faceless commodities who used to make up the Tampa Bay bullpen.

Just kidding. You won’t recall. You don’t recall. But he displayed more than enough talent to stick in the bigs earlier this year, before getting excommunicated by the Rays’ efficiency machine. And now he’s a Yankee!

Yankees sign Rays reliever Luke Bard after roster crunch

2022 has been by far the best season of Bard’s career, after three mediocre cameos from 2018-20 with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

And yes, he’s the younger brother of Colorado Rockies reliever Daniel Bard, who might’ve been a Yankees trade candidate if he hadn’t been extended by the Rox a few days ago. Funny how that all works out.

Bard was DFA’d this past week when the Rays added Garrett Cleavinger from the Dodgers in exchange for a low-level outfielder, German Tapia. Typically, these Rays relievers find themselves on the outs after Tampa makes some very necessary personnel move, like activating an injured ace. This time, the Rays just … picked Cleavinger? That’s what it looks like.

Anyhoo, wonder what might’ve intrigued Matt Blake and Co about Ba–oh. That. Probably that.

There’s not much additional Statcast data to work with based on Bard’s limited 2022 sample size, but the 14 innings he threw with the Rays make him as qualified as anyone to join the Yankees’ system and serve as a wild card down the stretch.

Outright the man and see what he has in Scranton! Best-case scenario, the Rays get red in the face again. Worst case, he’s McKay Pt. 2.