The bullpen’s been a major area to improve for the New York Yankees this offseason, and they kicked things off by welcoming back Tommy Kahnle on a two-year, $11.5 million contract. Just gotta keep our fingers crossed that he’s healthy.
We’ve got a funny update on him, but we’ll get to that in a bit. On Tuesday, general manager Brian Cashman added to his cast of relievers by importing James Norwood on a minor-league contract.
The hard-throwing right-hander logged 17.1 MLB innings with the Phillies in 2022. He got some time with the Cubs from 2018-2020 with the Cubs and in 2021 with the Padres. His career 5.78 ERA and 1.87 WHIP are nothing to be excited about … but his 3.72 FIP? His fastball velocity being in the 90th percentile of the league? That’s the stuff we like to see.
That’s because pitching coach Matt Blake, who’s expected to be back but isn’t officially back yet, has worked wonders with guys struggling to catch on.
He and the Yankees made something out of nothing with Lucas Luetge, Wandy Peralta, Clay Holmes, Nestor Cortes, Lou Trivino and more. We wouldn’t say expect the same from Norwood, but it’s clear the Yankees like something here.
The 28-year-old sports a fastball-splitter-slider combo, with those pitches averaging 97 MPH, 91 MPH and 88 MPH. Nice velocity distribution.
The Yankees sign James Norwood to minor-league deal after funny Tommy Kahnle video
Maybe there’s a mechanical change to be made or a certain pitch to emphasize or deemphasize. We’ll find out more about that in spring training.
As for Blake, as we await the details of his return, it appears as if Kahnle spilled the beans live on a Twitch stream while he was playing Madden on Monday night. That coincided with Cortes appearing on the YES Hot Stove show and revealing he recently spoke with Blake, too.
Kahnle, all out of sorts in the funniest way imaginable, was talking to some fans and said, “I feel great. I believe Blake is definitely still with the Yankees, right? Or am I crazy? I mean, he texted me! I don’t know. Am I out of my mind?”
Because what would a Norwood signing be without Blake? A random flyer to take to get bodies present at spring training? Usually, with these kinds of transactions, there’s an end game thanks to the new process in the Bronx that’s allowed so many unknown/struggling pitchers to prosper.
Anyway, thanks Tommy. We’re feeling great too.