The Yankees have signed left-handed pitcher Joely Rodriguez to a one-year contract, per a team announcement. Just three days ago, the club paid him a $500K buyout and declined their $3MM club option for the southpaw, but have now quickly brought him back into the fold. Joel Sherman of the New York Post relays that the new deal is for $2MM, meaning the club saved themselves $500K by letting him reach free agency for a few days. Although Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that there’s also $250K of incentives in the deal.
When the Yankees first acquired Rodriguez as part of the Joey Gallo trade, he had an ERA of 5.93 through 27 1/3 innings with the Rangers. Despite that high ERA, there were reasons for optimism, as he had an excellent 63.9% groundball rate, to go along with average-ish strikeout and walk rates of 23.4% and 9.4%, respectively. After coming to the Bronx, he logged 19 more innings with an ERA of 2.84.
This year’s left-handed relief market doesn’t have a lot of standouts, with Aaron Loup, Brooks Raley, Andrew Chafin and Tony Watson representing the cream of the crop. The Yankees have acted quickly and scooped up one of the options that they saw up close and clearly liked enough to bring back, as long as the price was right.
This acts as a sort of early birthday present for Rodriguez, as he will be turning 30 in four days. He’ll slot into a Yankee bullpen alongside other lefty options such as Aroldis Chapman, Wandy Peralta and Lucas Luetge. The club’s 40-man roster is now full.