Yankees sign longtime Blue Jays nemesis after blasting him into DFA territory

Welcome to the Evil Empire! It's...bad around here.
Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays
Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

32-year-old left-hander Tim Mayza began his big-league Blue Jays career in 2017, peaking with some excellent work in 2023, rounding into form as one of the game's best left-handers three years running.

In 2024, though, everything went haywire. One season after sporting a 1.52 ERA/2.60 FIP in 52 1/3 innings, adapting to the three-batter minimum spectacularly, Mayza currently sits at an 8.03 mark, an ERA that hasn't moved since June 28.

That's the day the Yankees scorched Mayza for five runs before he recorded an out (we call that the Carlos Rodón Special), turning a semi-squeaker into a Friday night laugher (the Stroman blowup game). Mayza, the longest-tenured Jay, was DFA'd the next day, and was not given the chance to stick around in Toronto and see if he could inch closer to his much more palatable 4.92 FIP with a bit of positive regression.

If it happens, it's possible it'll be in pinstripes; Mayza signed a minor-league deal with the Yankees on Wednesday morning.

Yankees sign left-hander Tim Mayza to minor-league deal

Mayza will report to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he'll try to recover some of the lost velocity on his trademark sinker in the Yankees' lab. As noted by The Athletic's Brendan Kuty, it's dropped just over 2 MPH since 2021.

Mayza wasn't a one-year wonder in 2023, though it was his most impressive season. He posted ERAs and FIPs in the 3.00s in 2021 and 2022, returning after an exceedingly painful-looking on-mound elbow injury, which occurred against the Yankees in late 2019 and wiped away his 2020 season surgically.

Mayza's intersected with the Yankees plenty over the years, and will now get a chance to heroically resurrect his career with his long-time AL East tormentor. The Yankees? They could use quite a bit of help to escape this historic slide, and if they're going to have a chance at escaping to the postseason, they're going to need a lot more than a lefty seeking to return to his peak. At least this represents a sign of life from a befuddled Brian Cashman, though, as well as a familiar face.