Heading into the 2022 season, it was believed the New York Yankees would have an under-the-radar bullpen weapon ready to be unleashed after his promising debut in 2021. But nothing ever materialized.
Stephen Ridings, whose electric fastball and demeanor excited fans for the five innings he was on the mound in August of 2021, went down with an undisclosed injury not too longer after and was never to be seen again.
Now, he’ll likely resurface across town after the Mets claimed him off waivers on Tuesday as teams were preparing for the roster protection deadline at 6 p.m. ET.
Ridings was placed on the 60-day injured list back on April 5 with a right shoulder impingement. There was hope he’d return for the stretch run and postseason, but he was never able to make his way back. He hasn’t seen MLB action since Aug. 15, 2021.
Former Yankees pitcher Stephen Ridings was claimed off waivers by the Mets
The last anybody saw of Ridings was a rehab outing with the Double-A Somerset Patriots, where fans were teased about the addition of a cutter to his arsenal.
The 27-year-old was protected from the Rule 5 Draft last year (which never happened, by the way) in what ended up being a wasted transaction. Sound familiar? This surely never happens to the Yankees. Injuries? Hoping a player is able to return but never does? Watching that player go elsewhere only to actually contribute? Never heard of that.
Ridings joined a long line of relievers that were supposed to make the 2022 bullpen “special.” In no particular order, the Yankees lost Ridings, Chad Green, Michael King, Scott Effross, Albert Abreu, Miguel Castro, Ron Marinaccio and Luis Gil for extended periods of the year, which constantly had the unit in flux throughout the second half of the season.
One could argue the most disappointing development was not being able to see what Ridings would be capable of with a full season’s workload. At least he’ll be close by to keep an eye on, because Yankees fans will absolutely be rooting for the former substitute teacher.