Yankees losing reliever to Diamondbacks increases urgency to improve bullpen


While Miguel Castro wasn’t exactly in the New York Yankees‘ long-term bullpen plans, losing someone like him certainly alters the picture for the 2023 season. Hopefully general manager Brian Cashman has a lot of potential relief targets on deck ahead of the Winter Meetings.

On Friday morning, per FanSided’s MLB insider Robert Murray, Castro signed a one-year deal worth $3.5 million with the Arizona Diamondbacks, marking the end of the right-hander’s short tenure in New York.

Last offseason, Castro was acquired from the New York Mets in a trade that sent Joely Rodriguez to Queens. The deal … didn’t really work out for anybody. Castro was injured for most of the season and finished with a lackluster 4.03 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in 29 innings. Rodriguez appeared in 55 games, but logged a subpar 4.47 ERA and 1.35 WHIP in 50.1 innings, and then signed with the Red Sox last week.

A classic lose-lose. Nonetheless, both served much-needed roles in the bullpen for their teams last season. Castro was able to handle high-leverage situations even if he wasn’t that impressive. His stuff played well against the opposition’s best hitters. His fastball velocity ranked in the 96th percentile among pitchers. His sweeping slider was a legitimate weapon.

Had he not missed so much time, perhaps the Yankees would’ve brought him back. Now they’ll need to fill the void Castro left as someone who could bridge the gap to the ninth inning.

The Yankees lost reliever Miguel Castro to the Arizona Diamondbacks

All Castro’s departure does is officially emphasize the importance of Cashman filling crucial bullpen voids. With Castro, Chad Green, Aroldis Chapman and Zack Britton likely gone in addition to Scott Effross’ injury forcing him out for all of 2023, there needs to be more support around Clay Holmes, Wandy Peralta, Jonathan Loaisiga, Michael King, Lou Trivino and Ron Marinaccio — which is already a bit underwhelming.

The good news is that Castro was by no means integral. He undoubtedly helped, but the Yankees survived a majority of the year without him. It’d be nice if there was a requisite addition with a similar above-average arsenal, though.

Should the Yankees have considered keeping the 27-year-old at just $3.5 million? Absolutely. That’s not even a $1 million raise from his $2.62 million salary from 2022.

But there are plentiful options Cashman can target that would either be upgrades or possess similar impact. Nothing to sweat here. Just a reminder that the Winter Meetings should hopefully result in a couple of relief additions so we don’t have to worry too much longer about reliving the second half of this past season.