As the Yankees continue their search for another middle reliever, they’ve been in contact with Ryan Brasier and Phil Maton, reports Jon Heyman of the New York Post. They’ve also been tied to Héctor Neris and old friends Wandy Peralta and Keynan Middleton in recent reports.
Brasier, 36, had a surprisingly excellent second half to the 2023 campaign. The righty had struggled to a 5.78 ERA over 62 1/3 innings for the Red Sox in 2022. When he began last year with a 7.29 mark over 21 innings, Boston designated him for assignment. The Dodgers brought him in on a minor league deal, selecting him onto the MLB roster in late June.
From then on, Brasier was among the best relievers in the game. He pitched to a microscopic 0.70 ERA through 38 2/3 innings in Los Angeles. He punched out nearly 27% of batters faced, a marked jump over the 18.9% rate he carried in Boston. Brasier also kept the ball on the ground at a robust 51.1% rate and limited his walk percentage to a modest 7% clip as a Dodger.
There’s no question Brasier pitched himself to a major league contract now that he’s back on the open market. It’s possible he could drum up enough interest to land a two-year deal, unexpected as that seemed a few months ago. The Cardinals, Orioles, Cubs and incumbent Dodgers were linked to Brasier a few weeks back. The Rangers and Angels were also tied to him at that point, although they’ve since made notable additions to their bullpens — David Robertson to Texas, Robert Stephenson and Matt Moore to the Halos.
Maton, who turns 31 in March, has been a solid middle innings pitcher for the Astros. Acquired at the 2021 deadline for center fielder Myles Straw, Maton worked to a 3.67 ERA over two and a half seasons in Houston. He’s coming off arguably the best season of his career. The right-hander allowed an even three earned runs per nine through 66 frames. He fanned 27% of opponents behind an excellent 15.4% swinging strike percentage.
As with Brasier, Maton has a solid case for a two-year contract. He’s not a prototypical late-innings power arm. Maton’s fastball sat at just 89 MPH on average. Yet he hasn’t had any issues missing bats thanks to an excellent breaking ball. Maton uses a curveball as his primary offering. Opponents hit only .169 against the pitch last year. St. Louis has also shown interest in the Illinois native this offseason.