Yankees sign former Dodgers, Mets reliever in possible Tommy Kahnle insurance

New York Mets v Miami Marlins
New York Mets v Miami Marlins / Rich Storry/GettyImages

Out of nowhere on Tuesday night, right before they were set to face off against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the New York Yankees added pitching depth in the form of a veteran right-hander who once upon a time had his moment in Hollywood.

According to the Scranton RailRiders Twitter account, Phil Bickford has been added to the team's roster. Per Jon Heyman of the New York Post, Bickford can earn $1.1 million if he makes the MLB squad, but the terms are unclear.

Bickford, who spent last season with the Mets and Dodgers (LA traded him to New York after designating him for assignment), pitched to a 2.81 ERA in 57 appearances as recently as 2021. He's gradually fallen out of favor since, but he's proven to be effective when utilized correctly.

He's primarily a two-pitch reliever, sporting a fastball-slider combo, which is something the Yankees like to work with. But Bickford saw his powers zapped last season when he ranked in the bottom of the league in exit velocity, max exit velocity, and walk percentage.

This move isn't exactly surprising, though, after Aaron Boone revealed Tommy Kahnle was yet again slowed in rehab from a shoulder injury.

Yankees News: Phil Bickford signs minor-league contract with New York

Boone said there's no plans for a rehab assignment for Kahnle because the right-hander didn't bounce back as expected from a recent live throwing session. The Yankees' bullpen has been tested early, so this isn't helpful from a reinforcements perspective.

That might've nudged the front office to add some more experienced help, and somebody like Bickford is the exact kind of low-cost addition with a reliable-enough track record to provide the Yankees the relief they'll need as the grueling 162-game season drags on.

Pitching coach Matt Blake has seemingly already worked wonders with Luis Gil, Clarke Schmidt, Luke Weaver, Nick Burdi, and others. Bickford could very well be next, especially after seeing what the Dodgers were able to unlock.

In other news that somewhat connects the Dodgers and Yankees from Tuesday, Matt Gage, who New York traded to LA this offseason, was designated for assignment. He might've been helpful, but he also netted the Yankees Caleb Ferguson.

Nonetheless, we'll keep tabs on Bickford at Scranton to see if he gets close to taking the shuttle to the Bronx when the Yanks need to ensure their key guys get needed rest.