Many thought the Yankees could have used one more arm in the bullpen when this offseason started.
After New York squared away the higher priority moves they wanted to make with DJ LeMahieu, Corey Kluber, and Jameson Taillon, they traded Adam Ottavino.
That Ottavino trade indicated that the Yankees were not done for the offseason. He was owed $9 million for the last year on his contract, and the Yankees did not trust him enough in the playoffs and predominantly used him against righties. Ottavino is not a bad pitcher, but his contract was not worth it for the usage the Yankees got out of him.
Weeks later, we found out what the Yankees did in the bullpen to make up for Ottavino’s departure. They signed relief pitchers Darren O’Day and Justin Wilson.
O’Day’s contract costs $2.45 million for luxury tax purposes, while the cost of Wilson’s deal is not confirmed yet but is believed to be for around $2-3 million.
These are not splash moves by any means, but even if we assume, Wilson’s deal is for $3 million, both of those deals come to less than $6 million on the luxury tax payroll.
So both of these deals combined cost less than Ottavino did by himself. Not to mention that there is a chance the Yankees will trust both of these pitchers more than Ottavino.
So it looks like Brian Cashman might have improved the depth of the bullpen while also creating more payroll flexibility. It could prove to be a smart move, and maybe it created enough room to bring Brett Gardner back.
Something else to note is that O’Day is a righty, and Wilson is a lefty. So this creates more options for Aaron Boone to go to in various situations.
Wilson is a former Yankee. He had a good season for the Yankees in 2015 before getting traded to the Tigers for Chad Green and Luis Cessa.
This year the Yankees could use Wilson in matchup-based situations in earlier innings before Green, Zack Britton, and Aroldis Chapman come into the game.
Many Yankees fans know O’Day from his days in Baltimore. He is a sidewinder who could essentially step into the role Ottavino used to have and be used against righties.
O’Day also does not struggle with walking batters as much as Ottavino does. So maybe he will even be an improvement.
These moves are not as notable as some of the others this offseason, but quietly Cashman has created more flexibility in the bullpen for the 2021 season.
Featured Image: G Fiume/Getty Images