1:23PM: The Yankees officially announced that Banda was signed to a Major League contract. To create roster space, right-hander Luis Gil (who underwent Tommy John surgery in May) was recalled from the minors and moved to the 60-day injured list.
With Aroldis Chapman going on the 15-day injured list yesterday, New York quickly filled that void with another left-handed reliever. Banda joins Wandy Peralta and Lucas Luetge as the southpaw options in an injury-plagued bullpen, though Chapman and Zack Britton are expected to be back at some point in September.
The Yankees will be the ninth different organization of Banda’s career, and he has been action at the MLB level with five of those teams. That includes a combined 26 innings with the Pirates and Blue Jays this season, with a 5.88 ERA to show for Banda’s 2022 resume. Advanced metrics paint a much more favorable picture of Banda’s performance than his ERA, as a gigantic .446 BABIP might be to blame for many of Banda’s struggles.
Banda was a notable prospect early in his career before he was waylaid by injuries, and the second act of his career has seen the left-hander now convert to full-time relief pitching. He has a 4.98 ERA over 59 2/3 innings since the start of the 2021 season, though a 3.90 SIERA in that same span is perhaps a better reflection, given Banda’s lack of batted-ball luck.
Toronto acquired Banda from Pittsburgh in early July, and Banda than chose free agency rather than accept an outright assignment to Triple-A in early August. That led to a new minors deal with the Mariners, but he made only four appearances with Seattle’s Triple-A affiliate before enacting an opt-out clause earlier this week.