Yankees Are Hoping Clay Holmes Can Help Fix Their Bullpen

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The Yankees’ bullpen hasn’t performed up to their usual dominance this season.

And in the past two games, it has been on full display, as their relievers have given up a total of seven runs.

As a result, the front office went out and brought in some bullpen help this week, starting with a trade for Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Clay Holmes.

The 28-year-old Holmes has made 44 appearances for the Pirates this season, posting a 4.93 ERA and 1.429 WHIP across 42 innings.

Although these numbers don’t exactly jump off the page, he has held right-handed hitters to a .173 batting average and a .471 OPS. Unfortunately, it is lefties that give him fits, as they have produced a .926 OPS against Holmes.

Regardless, manager Aaron Boone is excited about the acquisition.

“I’m excited to get him,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone prior to Tuesday night’s 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. “I feel like he’s a guy that is already is very, very tough on righties, but we feel like he has the stuff in the repertoire to even go to another place. I feel like he’s having a really strong season, a lot better than his ERA would suggest.

“For example, this is a guy with a really good arm, and I think gives us a really interesting look in our bullpen as kind of a righty assassin.”

The 2021 season hasn’t gone as planned for the Yankees in a multitude of ways. While their bullpen was looked at as one of the league’s best units to start the year, they have been far from it as of late.

Offseason bullpen signings such as Justin Wilson and Darren O’Day (out for season) have been major disappointments and setup man Zack Britton has dealt with a number of injury issues, and has struggled as well.

Wilson and right-hander Luis Cessa were sent to the Reds late Tuesday night in another trade ahead of this week's Deadline. 

Yankees Trade Luis Cessa, Justin Wilson to Reds; What it Means Ahead of Deadline

Meanwhile, right-hander Chad Green has seen his ERA balloon from 2.14 to 3.35 since July 9 and closer Aroldis Chapman, who began the year with a 0.39 ERA, has completely fallen off the table with an 11.57 ERA, 14 walks and 15 earned runs in his last 11.2 innings.

At this point, they are going to need all the help they can get, and by adding Holmes, the Yankees are hoping he can provide serviceable innings. And based off what Boone said, the Yankees like his stuff and are hopeful that they can potentially develop him into a more consistent pitcher.

In exchange for Holmes, the Yankees sent the Pirates their No. 33 ranked prospect in their system in infielder Hoy Park, who was having a strong season for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre with a .981 OPS.

They also traded 23-year-old third baseman Diego Castillo to Pittsburgh as well. Castillo had a .850 OPS, 11 home runs and 32 RBIs for Double-A Somerset this season.

Both players signed with the Yankees back in 2014 as international free-agents and have been in their system ever since.


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