Pitchers and Catchers report date is right around for all 30 MLB teams. The Yankees might not be completely done this offseason adding to their roster but one potential free-agent relief pitcher could be Keona Kela. Kela last year only pitched in 3 games last year due to a positive covid test and forearm tightness. In the season prior he had a stellar season of an era of 2.12 in 32 appearances out of the pen for the Pirates. This would be the argument to acquire the young right-handed pitcher.
Again, this would be the third pitcher the Yankees could acquire that would have not pitched last year. Obviously, this would come with some concern if acquiring a player that has missed an entire season, but at age 27 and with his previous success he could come for more upside.
Another issue that could keep the Yankees away from Kela is them trying to stay under the luxury tax threshold. After the resigning of DJ LeMahieu to a 6 year 90 million dollar contract, General Manager Brian Cashman has made sure to acquire cheaper but potentially effective starting pitchers Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon. Brian Cashman even felt the need to trade Adam Ottavino to rival Boston Red Sox to give them more room under the luxury tax threshold. Cashman responded and found Ottavino’s replacement with Daren O’Day. O’ Day comes at a much cheaper price than Ottavino. This still gives the Yankees a chance to potentially add another player or two.
The question now is whether or not the Yankees will look into adding Kela or go a different avenue. Other avenues could include a future midseason trade or resign veteran outfielder Brett Gardner. The Yankees could be in need of another relief arm. As of now, there are four pitchers out of that pen that they trust including Chad Green, Daren O’Day, Zack Britton, and Aroldis Chapman. One more addition to the pen would potentially give the Yankees an advantage over another team that has a strong bullpen like the Tampa Bay Rays. Keone Kela would help bolster the Yankees bullpen for sure but will he come at too high of a price for the Yankees to consider to go down that route.