The Sneaky: Edgar Barclay, LHP
If Matt Krook can't find the zone (24.75 ERA, 3.50 WHIP in MLB), then maybe it's time to try Edgar Barclay first next year.
Barclay, who reached Triple-A at the age of 25 this summer, built up his innings impressively in recent years, piling up 77.1 in 2021, 67.1 last summer, and 78.1 in 2023, making him perfectly suited to filling a big-league relief role full-time next season.
If the Yankees don't protect their 2019 15th-rounder, another MLB team will certainly poach him. Without Wandy Peralta under contract for next season, though, the Yankees are definitively lefty-deficient. Scott Effross has lefty energy, true, and yet we must remind you that he pitches with his right arm (which should theoretically be healthy by Opening Day).
That gives Barclay an even bigger, clearer pathway to playing time than most other upper-level minor leaguers. His Triple-A cameo this season was largely unsuccessful, tainting his full-season numbers while he attempted to chase the high of 2022 (1.74 ERA at Hudson Valley, 86 Ks and 41 hits allowed in 67.1 innings). In 10 outings with Scranton (all starts, after starting zero games a level below), Barclay walked 33 men in 44.1 innings; he'd only walked 11 in 34 frames with Somerset. His ERA leapt from 1.32 to 5.89, while his WHIP ballooned from 1.09 to 1.74.
Maybe he wasn't ready for Triple-A. Maybe he wasn't ready to start. Maybe he never will be. But there's enough in Barclay's profile, and enough experience in his left arm, for someone to take a chance if the Yankees don't.