The Yankees solidified themselves as the winners of the offseason after signing Gerrit Cole. Knowing Brian Cashman, however, he and the Yankees are not done yet. Cashman is always looking for ways to make the best possible product on the field. There have been rumors about potentially trading for Josh Hader to pack the bullpen with yet another elite reliever, but that’s all we’ve really heard since the Cole signing. Then Cashman made an under-the-radar move to sign Nick Tropeano.
Tropeano is a 29-year old pitcher who has been a minor league and big league journeyman since 2014. In the five years that he has been pitching professionally, he has appeared in just 42 big league games in large part because of injury. Over those games Tropeano has pitched to a 4.51 earned run average with 7.99 K/9, 193 strikeouts and 87 walks in 217.1 innings pitched.
Tropeano offers a pretty wide variety of pitches in his arsenal boasting two types of fastballs and three off-speed pitches. His splitter and his changeup have been the most effective pitches in his career so far. The pair were his strikeout pitches as they led his arsenal of five pitches in put-away percentage across 17 games in 2018 and 2019. In those two seasons the splitter had a put-away percentage of 29.6 and 20 respectively and the changeup had a put-away percentage of 42.9 and 12.5.
Tropeano has not logged many impressive seasons but the one that does stick out is his 2014 season. Tropeano compiled a 3.03 ERA in the minors over 23 games and a 4.57 ERA in the big leagues when he got called up for four games. This has essentially been the story of his career. He’s played well in the minors, but unfortunately hasn’t been able to stick around in the majors long enough to warrant a major-league deal. Tropeano hasn’t had staying power in the majors, but he’s been a decent depth piece when healthy.
Knowing this, the Yankees can be confidant that he’ll find a spot in the starting rotation down in Triple-A Scranton while he works to earn a call-up. Unless the team runs into a double-header situation or another injury plague and runs out of pitchers, Tropeano likely won’t make an appearance in the Bronx next season. With young pitchers like Deivi Garcia, Jonathan Loaisiga and Michael King in the Yankee’s sights, there is little to no room for Tropeano to breakthrough.
Part of Tropeano’s deal is that he will get an invite to spring training. Tropeano’s best chance to have any effect on the Yankees in 2020 will likely come here. If Tropeano comes out and has a clean, impressive spring, he may earn himself a call-up when someone goes down, or maybe a bullpen spot to provide depth in the middle of the season. We’ll find out starting in February when pitchers and catchers report if Tropeano has what it takes. In all likelihood, however, Tropeano won’t be making any appearances in the Bronx next year.