The Yankees have announced that left-hander Andrew Heaney has elected free agency instead of accepting an outright assignment. Right-hander Brody Koerner meanwhile has been outrighted off the Yankees 40-man roster, joining the RailRiders in Triple-A.
This announcement is largely a formality as it pertains to Heaney, since the free agent-to-be was designated for assignment a few days earlier. This officially concludes a tough 2021 season that will almost definitely serve as a coda to his time in pinstripes.
The 30-year-old Heaney saw action this year both on the Angels and Yankees pitching staffs, posting cumulative 5.83 ERA and a 2.0 HR/9 marks. These results, which include a 7.32 ERA and 3.0 HR/9 rate in the Bronx, quite readily explain why the lefty was given his walking papers instead of a spot on the Yankees postseason roster.
Despite the rough bottom-line results however, Heaney has stronger bounce-back potential than most players in the eyes of some metrics. A 4.12 xFIP and 3.84 SIERA for example both assume Heaney’s home run rate will regress and that his strong 26.9 K% and 7.3 BB% rates will lead to better results moving forward.
Teams who believe they can further tap into Heaney’s potential and help him avoid hard contact are likely to try and invest via a low-risk deal this offseason. Given that Heaney is only 30 years old and still misses plenty of bats it’s quite possible his next contract exceeds expectations.
Koerner appears set to experience a much smoother offseason. After getting his first taste of the big leagues this year, pitching three innings of one-run ball in relief, the 27-year-old will continue on in the only organization he’s ever known. Koerner only helped his stock this past season, with his minor league strikeout, walk, hit, and home run rates all trending in the right direction; that his 3.39 ERA in 2021 is more than a run and a half lower than his 5.00 ERA in 2019 is all the more impressive considering the lost 2020 campaign. While the Yankees likely view the 17th-rounder as a depth option more than anything, they’re surely happy to hang onto a player with swingman upside.