Sure felt like the New York Yankees had a few more moves in their pocket before they had to resort to this level, huh?
According to Aaron Judge at Wednesday’s press conference, Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner might have a few more tricks up their sleeve in the weeks to come in order to address the bullpen and left field vacancy.
Following the team’s official announcement of Judge’s deal, no move they made was going to come without consequence; the team’s new Captain was No. 40 on the 40-man roster. Once the Carlos Rodón and Tommy Kahnle signings were also made official, two players on the current roster would have to go. Ditto for any trades or signings still to come.
With Rodón, the Yankees took the easy way out, sending recent acquisition Junior Fernández into the ether and announcing a 10 AM press conference for Thursday.
By the end of the day, they’d also made room for Kahnle’s two-year deal. And it only cost … fan favorite reliever Lucas Luetge?!
Yankees DFA Lucas Luetge to make Tommy Kahnle signing official
Luetge, one of the franchise’s recent great stories, became a stalwart reliever in 2021-22 after being signed off the scrap heap and invited to spring training on a whim.
Rumors of his departure ran rampant during the 2022 season, after he somehow survived the axe for the entire previous year. Some foresaw him being dealt at the ’22 deadline to the Cardinals before Jordan Montgomery stole his thunder.
It took until the end of Dec. 2022 for the move to actually come, once fans thought they were probably safe from losing quirky relievers.
The worst part? Luetge clearly had translatable talent; his ability to limit soft contact was almost second to none (97th percentile average exit velocity in 2022, literal 100th percentile hard-hit percentage).
In the end, he was mostly trusted for mop-up duty and three-inning saves, though, and his escalated WHIP (1.395) didn’t breed the most confidence, even though his cutter was a genuine weapon.
Much like Matt Carpenter on Tuesday, this departure stings, even if it was somewhat essential — really couldn’t have dropped Jhony Brito, huh?