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Yankees trade David Hale to Phillies for RHP Addison Russ

Our first trade of the year involves a swap of relief depth.

Atlanta Braves v New York Yankees Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

We’ve been wondering what the 2020 trade market would look like, and we got our first idea Friday afternoon, as the Yankees shipped David Hale to Philadelphia in exchange for Addison Russ.

Russ is a talented 25 year old right-handed reliever, who struck out 34.2% of batters faced in Double-A last year. He hasn’t pitched above that level yet, but will be assigned to the Yankees Alternate Training Site and could be called upon to add depth to a depleted Yankee bullpen.

Hale heads the other way, as immediate help for MLB’s worst bullpen. Hale’s had a solid start to the year, with a 3.00 ERA and 2.34 FIP, albeit just in six innings. He performed well in 2019 in 37 innings for the Yankees as well, but with far fewer strikeouts. He’ll be called upon to triage a bad Phillies bullpen, and the key for him will be keeping that strikeout rate high — 26.9% early in 2020 compared to a career 15.3%.

We’ll have to wait and see what Russ’ role with the Yankees is. The team has lost Tommy Kahnle and Zack Britton, two big pillars of what was on Opening Day the game’s most feared bullpen. Russ’ lack of MLB experience could hold him back, but the Yankees have been able to build pretty reliable bullpen arms every year, he could be the next one.