The Yankees have added another lefty to the potential bullpen corps, claiming Matt Gage off waivers from the Astros on Monday per Jon Heyman. A yet-to-be-announced move is forthcoming, as they will need to clear a spot for the southpaw on the 40-man roster. Gage has just 19.2 innings of MLB experience and will turn 31 in a couple weeks, but with a 1.83 ERA, solving his walk rate issues could unlock a good piece of relief depth.
Throwing a fastball-cutter combo 80 percent of the time, Gage relies on soft contact rather than strikeouts to get by. He’s regularly notched ground-ball rates north of 45 percent in the minors, and while it seemed Houston was trying to get him to induce more whiffs in 2023, the Yankees will likely try to increase the movement and effectiveness on his fastballs and return him to his original style. Alternatively, the success of the sweeper in the Yankee rotation and bullpen may drive the Yankees to brush up Gage’s possibly-underutilized slider.
With Héctor Neris now a Cub, the Mets are reportedly the team most interested in signing old friend Wandy Peralta. While the Yankees also have an in with Peralta’s camp, Gage can be seen as an insurance policy against losing Wandy. With one remaining season of MiLB options, Gage can also hedge against the poor performances of someone like Victor González, who will likely start the season on the 26-man roster as he is out of options.
Earlier today, the Yankees claimed LHP Matt Gage off waivers from the Houston Astros.— New York Yankees (@Yankees) January 29, 2024
To make room on the 40-man roster, the Yankees designated INF/OF Diego Castillo for assignment.
Recently-reacquired utilityman/Baby Bomber alum Diego Castillo was DFA’d to make room for Gage. So much for the reunion.