The Boston Red Sox weren't lying when president Sam Kennedy said the organization wasn't done making moves. On Saturday, they signed a former New York Yankees reliever to a minor-league contract. Now the hot stove is burning in Beantown!
Lucas Luetge, an affable bullpen arm from 2021-2022 in the Bronx, didn't exactly revamp the Yankees' bullpen, but he was a representation of what this team does right (sometimes).
Prior to signing a deal to come to New York, Luetge hadn't pitched in the bigs since 2015 due to poor performance and injuries. The Yanks took a flyer knowing he hadn't thrown since 2019, too. It was also a pleasant surprise to learn Luetge grew up a Yankees fan when he announced the signing.
And he was a solider during his time in the Bronx. He came into games whenever manager Aaron Boone needed, and logged a 2.71 ERA, 2.92 FIP and 1.25 WHIP in 107 games. It all came to a surprising end last offseason, though.
Luetge was traded to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for prospects Indigo Diaz and Caleb Durbin (who is now a star in the Yankees' system) in December of 2022.
Red Sox sign former Yankees pitcher Lucas Luetge to minor-league contract
It was an upsetting, but necessary move. Luetge had come in and done his job admirably -- performing to a level nobody had even dreamed of projecting upon his acquisition. That said, the Yankees had an opportunity to upgrade and move on while his value was never going to be higher.
Unfortunately for Luetge, he cratered in 2023. The Braves designated him for assignment after just 12 games. He finished with a 7.24 ERA, 4.86 FIP and 1.76 FIP across 13.2 innings.
Meanwhile, the Yankees somehow got by with Wandy Peralta as the only effective lefty in the bullpen and received surprising performances from newcomers Ian Hamilton, Jimmy Cordero (before he was suspended), Jhony Brito and Randy Vasquez (both of whom were later traded for Juan Soto).
The Yankees are planning for more of the same in 2024. Peralta is gone, as is Michael King, Albert Abreu, Keynan Middleton, Ryan Weber and the aforementioned names. In comes Caleb Ferguson, Victor Gonzalez, Marcus Stroman, Cody Morris and Cody Poteet as new additions, while Luis Gil, Scott Effross and Jonathan Loaisiga will be welcomed back from injuries.
In Boston, the pitching staff has been in flux for what's felt like years. That gives Luetge an avenue to rebound and get back to the bigs, which would be a feel-good story for Yankees fans. That's what'll make it so hard when he eventually faces off against this star-studded offense.