The Yankees remain in the market for more bullpen help, but even if they sign another veteran pitcher after adding Tommy Kahnle to the mix, they’ll likely need help from some young pitchers.
Much like last season, when the Yankees turned to Ron Marinaccio after spring training and the rookie right-hander became important out of the bullpen, the Yankees added a few minor leaguers to the 40-man roster this offseason.
Since the Yankees traded much of their minor league throwing depth at the deadline last season, they won’t have as many options this season, but three were mentioned this week as potential contributors in 2023.
Matt Krook is general manager Brian Cashman, manager Aaron Boone and pitching coach Matt Blake, all mentioned Thursday in the Bronx.
For now, Wandy Peralta is the only southpaw in the bullpen. Krook could be another left-handed reliever, although he spent much of his minor league career as a starter.
But Cashman said Krook had “interesting characteristics, so I wouldn’t rule [a spot in the pen] outside.”
Krook isn’t young — he’s 28 — and spent all of last season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after spending the early part of his career in the Giants and Rays organizations.
“He is on the [40-man] list for a reason,” Cashman said. “He had enough talent to warrant that.”
When the Yankees set up an alternate site at their Double-A Somerset Stadium to prep players for the playoffs, Cashman said Matt Carpenter was among the left-handed hitters who adored Krook.
Cashman said he was told that Carpenter — who just signed with the Padres — called Krook a bad guy.
“He’s going to take a look, as well as other guys,” Cashman said.
Blake noted Krook’s heavy lead as a reason he could be effective in the majors.
Krook limited left-handed hitters to a .499 OPS at Triple-A, though right-handed hitters hit him hard.
Boone said he considered using Krook as a left-handed specialist last season.
According to Blake, a pair of 24-year-old minor league right-handers could also head to the Bronx.
Randy Vasquez spent last season with Somerset, mostly as a starter, and the southpaws had a .739 OPS against him.
He is considered the Yankees’ 14th-best prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.
Jhony Brito has also been added to the 40-man roster and would also be ‘in the mix’ to be either deep for the rotation – along with the more experienced Clarke Schmidt and Domingo German – or in the bullpen.
Brito went to SWB and pitched well there, holding left-handed hitters to a .538 OPS.
Among the more established pitchers, Boone noted the success of Kahnle and Marinaccio against southpaws, as well as southpaw Peralta.
“So you have [Lou] Trivino, [Clay] Holmes and [Jonathan Loaisiga] like right-wing assassins,” Boone said.
In a long season, however, they will need more than this group.