The Yankees announced that they have declined their $3MM club option on Joely Rodriguez for the 2022 season. The left-hander will instead receive a $500K buyout and enter free agency. In another move, New York added catcher Donny Sands to the team’s Major League roster.
Rodriguez pitched quite well for the Bronx Bombers after being acquired as pat of the Joey Gallo blockbuster at the trade deadline. The left-handed had posted a 5.93 over 27 1/3 innings with the Rangers to begin the season, but then had a 2.84 ERA over 19 innings with New York. An extreme groundball pitcher, Rodriguez had a high BABIP with both teams, but reduced his walk rate and some of his hard-contact numbers once he arrived in the Bronx, though he also had a lower strikeout rate.
At the net cost of $2.5MM, the Yankees might have felt there was too much variability in Rodriguez’s grounder-heavy arsenal to count on a repeat performance in 2022. With Wandy Peralta and Lucas Luetge (not to mention closer Aroldis Chapman) all slated to be part of next year’s bullpen, the Yankees could have also felt they were set with enough left-handed relief depth.
Rodriguez’s numbers have been inconsistent over his four MLB seasons, though he has shown some flashes of quality, especially on the few occasions he has paired his big grounder rates with above-average number of strikeouts. The lefty also pitched very well with the Chunichi Dragons of Nippon Professional Baseball in 2018-19, which drew attention from the Rangers and led to Rodriguez’s return to North American ball.