With their bullpen weakened by the loss of Chad Green and Michael King — as well as the recent struggles of Clay Holmes — the Yankees added another reliever on Monday, acquiring the right-handed Scott Effross from the Cubs.
The trade came at a cost, with the highly-regarded right-hander, Hayden Wesneski, heading to Chicago.
Effross fits the Yankees’ current bullpen philosophy in that he has an excellent sinker — like Holmes — and also mixes in a slider and a changeup.
He’s in his second season in the majors and has a WHIP of 1,068, slightly higher than it was a year ago, but he is under team control until 2028.
Lately, Effross has pitched in middle-to-late-game situations and picked up his first save, so he could spell Holmes in the closer role. Holmes has now blown three of his last nine chances, including in Sunday’s loss to the Royals.
Wesneski, 24, was ranked the Yankees’ seventh-best prospect by MLB Pipeline.
He had a 3.51 ERA in 19 starts with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and will now go to the rebuilding Cubs.
A sixth-round pick by the Yankees in 2019, Wesneski has developed into a possible major league starter next season.
The Yankees’ bullpen, a strength throughout the first half, had Green and King go down with season-ending elbow injuries that required surgery. The struggling Miguel Castro remains on the IL with a strained right shoulder.
They’ve received a boost lately from Clarke Schmidt, who has been solid as a long reliever after being called up from SWB, where he’d been stretched out to provide rotation depth, as well as Ron Marinaccio, who had an uncharacteristically shaky outing on Sunday.
Jonathan Loaisiga and Aroldis Chapman have also looked good of late, with Chapman retiring each of the last nine batters he faced.
And the Yankees are still hoping to get Zack Britton back from last year’s elbow surgery, although general manager Brian Cashman acknowledged recently they’re unsure how effective he’ll be.
Chapman, Green, and Britton are also all free agents this offseason.