The Yankees announced on Thursday that they’ve designated left-hander Richard Bleier for assignment in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for slugger Chris Carter, whose one-year deal is now official.
The 29-year-old Bleier made his MLB debut last season and pitched quite well, logging a 1.96 ERA in 23 innings for the Yanks. Bleier averaged 5.1 K/9 against 1.6 BB/9 to go along with a 54.1 percent ground-ball rate, though his fastball checked in at just over 89 mph, on average. Bleier, a former sixth-round pick (Rangers, 2008), greatly outperformed his minor league numbers in his short big league stint with New York. He spent the rest of the year in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he posted a 3.72 ERA with just 25 strikeouts in 58 innings (10 starts, two relief appearances).
The Yankees signed Bleier as a minor league free agent prior to the 2016 season, and while he proved a very useful depth option for the organization, his overall track record at Triple-A creates some doubt about his ability to sustain last year’s Major League performance. In 147 innings across parts of four Triple-A campaigns, Bleier has a 3.29 ERA but has averaged just 3.7 K/9 against 1.5 BB/9. While he clearly has pristine control and a penchant for inducing ground-balls, likely hurt his standing within the organization.
If Bleier is ultimately exposed to waivers and clears, he can remain in camp with the Yankees as a non-roster player and hope to once again surface in the Majors later this season.