Yankees take shot in the dark on former Cardinals' first-round pick righty

Cincinnati Reds v St Louis Cardinals
Cincinnati Reds v St Louis Cardinals / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages

On the bright side, the Yankees opted to take a chance on a former top prospect on Tuesday afternoon, claiming righty Luke Weaver off waivers from the Seattle Mariners. He's a free agent at the end of the 2023 season, making this engagement a limited commitment -- unless the Yankees see something they really like.

On the dark side, the Yankees claimed Weaver and transferred Nestor Cortes Jr. to the 60-Day IL, all so they could lay claim to one of MLB's worst pitchers.

Weaver, once upon a time, was a key piece of trade bait in the Paul Goldschmidt sweepstakes after being selected in the first round by the Cardinals back in 2014. Unfortunately, that was quite a while ago for the 30-year-old; since then, he's bounced to the Diamondbacks, Royals, Reds and Mariners, subtracting 1.0 bWAR along the way in 2023. He's allowed 85 runs in 110.1 innings pitched thus far this season -- and he'll probably pile up a few more innings down the stretch for the Yankees, who are already on their last resorts' last resorts.

Whether you're a Yankees optimist or a justified pessimist, it's difficult to find fault with adding Weaver, who'll soak up innings in a few meaningless series down the stretch, even if that (unfortunately) ends up benefitting the Blue Jays' or Red Sox' Wild Card chases.

Yankees claim starter Luke Weaver to soak up innings down the stretch

Odds are the Yankees were only looking for a low-risk flyer when they brought Weaver aboard, considering the sheer number of rotation holes they already have (with more shutdowns likely looming).

Luis Severino is out for the rest of the season (and probably his Yankees career) with a high-grade oblique strain. Both Jhony Brito and Randy Vásquez are somewhere between relievers and starters right now, often piggybacking one another. Clarke Schmidt, a key piece either next season or this offseason in a sell-high move, is well over his current pro high for innings pitched (140.2 this season after 57.2 last year). For the good of everyone involved, he should probably shut down, too. Does anyone really need to see anymore Carlos Rodón, either? Exactly.

The Yankees certainly have a role for Weaver, whether he grabs the reins of the opportunity or not. Will the addition ultimately matter? It's a matter of perspective. Bodies, bodies, bodies, though.