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Yankees designate Lucas Luetge after Tommy Kahnle signing

A surprising departure made room for a familiar face.

Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

One of the great virtues of this team in recent years has been in developing arms for the bullpen. Whether we’re talking about names already in the organization or trade acquisitions that fly under the radar, relievers such as Clay Holmes, Wandy Peralta, and Lucas Luetge have essentially come out of nowhere to be very productive. Today, the last member of that trio was cut from the roster.

The Tommy Kahnle signing required the team to open up a spot on its 40-man roster, and that spot came in the casualty of Luetge. We’re saying goodbye to Luetge in advance because this is not one of those cases where a team has any shot of squeezing a player through waivers to stash him in Triple-A.

The veteran lefty has found himself over the last two seasons in the Bronx, holding opponents to a .678 OPS, with a 25.0 K%, and a 2.71 ERA in 129.2 innings. It was a quietly remarkable story, as prior to 2021, Luetge hadn’t pitched in the majors since 2015 and only came to spring training as a non-roster invitee. But unfortunately, given his age (36 in next season), and lack of options, he became a casualty to the Kahnle signing.

Despite all the reasons why this designation for assignment made some sense, it still came as a bit of a surprise, with Luetge’s very good track record over the last two seasons. However, the lack of minor league options is the real driving force here, and we’ve seen this team put itself in a tight spot midseason, needing to manage certain players without options.

Kahnle only managed to pitch 12.2 innings in the regular season last year, but looked like his former self, even earning a high-leverage role for the Dodgers in the postseason, which prompted the Yankees to offer him this two-year deal.

Luetge will have no shortage of suitors and hopefully finds himself in another good situation, as we wish him the best moving forward.