The MLB Trade Deadline is tomorrow, and since it's been very quiet on the news front around the league outside of the Andrew Benintendi and Luis Castillo trades, today and tomorrow were bound to be full of activity. The Yankees themselves seemed likely to not settle for just Benintendi, and shortly after noon on Monday, they made a move.
The Yankees' bullpen was a serious strength in the first half of the season, with Clay Holmes putting together an All-Star campaign and Michael King in the All-Star conversation as well. The past month has not been kind to either top hurler though; Holmes hit his first roadblock as Yankees closer as he battled command issues for the majority of July and blew some saves, and King went down for the year with an awful elbow injury. Although Wandy Peralta and Lucas Luetge have mostly been fine, the Yankees needed a bit more bullpen help with Aroldis Chapman and Jonathan Loáisiga still wild cards.
Enter Cubs side-armer Scott Effross, who Andrés profiled as a possible trade target back on July 21st. Brian Cashman has made a deal with Jed Hoyer to acquire the right-hander in exchange for pitching prospect Hayden Wesneski.
The team later confirmed the move on Twitter.
At 28 years old, Effross is a bit of a late bloomer, but he's someone who has benefitted from the Cubs' teardown because he might not have received a more significant big league look if the team was better. He was a 15th-round pick out of Indiana in 2015, and he didn't debut until August 2021. After catching some eyes in 14.1 innings down the stretch with a 0.955 WHIP, 31-percent strikeout rate, and minuscule 1.7-percent walk rate, Effross earned himself a bigger bullpen role in 2022.
The former Hoosier has seized the opportunity and run with it, and his side-arm looks on sliders and sinkers have been giving National League batters fits this year. In 44 innings across 47 games, Effross has a 2.66 ERA, 2.19 FIP, 1.068 WHIP, and has allowed just two homers, good for a 0.4 HR/9. The strikeout and walk rates have remained quite good as well, at 28.1 percent and 6.2 percent, respectively. The Yankees got to see him up close and personal on June 10th in the Bronx, when he threw a scoreless inning and struck out Aaron Judge.
The man certainly offers a distinct skillset for Matt Blake and Mike Harkey to harness and for Aaron Boone to deploy. Effross comes with plenty of team control too, as he's under contract through the end of 2027. If he thrives, he could be a Yankee for a long time.
The cost to obtain Effross was a familiar name to those who have followed the Yankees' farm system over the past few years. The Yankees selected Hayden Wesneski in the sixth round of the 2019 MLB Draft, and in the past couple seasons, he has nothing but provide steady work as he's climbed the organizational ladder. Wesneski shot up from High-A Hudson Valley to Triple-A Scranton over the course of 2021, and the 24-year-old had a 3.51 ERA and 1.149 WHIP in 19 starts for Scranton this year.
On a worse team, Wesneski would've received a MLB opportunity by now, but for much of the first half, the Yankees' rotation was just too good, and there were other arms ahead of him, like JP Sears and Clarke Schmidt. Fellow "W" prospect Ken Waldichuk has joined him at Triple-A now as well (update: actually, he’s going to Oakland for Frankie Montas and Lou Trivino). So while I think Wesneski has a solid future, he was ultimately a perfect candidate to be dealt at this deadline. Best of luck to him in Chicago, where he should get that big league chance.
We'll have more to come on Effross. Welcome to the Bronx!