4 relievers Yankees should target this offseason (without breaking the bank)

This back end of the bullpen needs an infusion of talent.

Detroit Tigers v Cleveland Guardians
Detroit Tigers v Cleveland Guardians / Ron Schwane/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
4 of 4
Next

Justin Topa, Seattle Mariners

Topa would also be a trade conversation; he doesn't hit free agency until after the 2026 season. But if there's one thing we've learned from the Mariners, it's that they have no issue treating bullpen pieces like fungible assets, outside of Andrés Muñoz. Paul Sewald was dealt at this year's deadline in the midst of a playoff push (before things really got cooking). Erik Swanson left over the winter in the Teoscar Hernández deal. Kendall Graveman was plucked out of the 'pen as Seattle was heating up two seasons ago.

Those players don't appear to be washed, either. Swanson's been great in Toronto, posting a 3.10 ERA with 67 Ks in 58 innings. Seattle just appears to believe trading peaking bullpen assets is a good way to get what you want, and has a braintrust in place that's extra good at finding "the next guy," just like the Yankees.

It would stand to reason that the 32-year-old Topa, a Long Island native, would be available after his breakout 2023 season. The 6-4, 200 pound righty has posted 1.5 bWAR this year, maintaining a 2.51 ERA while striking out 50 in 57.1 mostly high-leverage innings.

Topa is 75% reliant on a sinker/slider combination, and ranks in the top 5% of the league nearly across the board in terms of expected performance. Can he sustain it year-over-year, especially after only finding his footing in the bigs as he enters his mid-30s? It's a risky proposition, but should make him cheaper on the trade market than Swanson. It's highly likely he could be pried away from Seattle, no matter how well his season ends.

manual