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Yankees bring in bullpen help with acquisition of Scott Effross from Cubs

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John Sterling New York Yankees Suzyn Waldman
Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Bruce Zimmermann throws to New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge during the third inning of a baseball game at Yankee Stadium.
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Brian Cashman addressed the need for a bat and now he has brought in some help for the Yankees bullpen.

New York completed a deal to add Chicago Cubs reliever Scott Effross in exchange for minor league pitcher Hayden Wesneski. The addition gives the Yankees a 28-year-old right-handed reliever under team control for the next five seasons and who has pitched quite well this season in the Windy City. 

Effross has gone 1-4 this season for the Cubs with a 2.66 ERA and 50 strikeouts. The reliever comes with two elite pitches in his sinker-slider and changeup. 

Opposing batters are .157 against his slider this season and have .196 slugging percentage against it. 

The right-handed pitcher has held opponents to a .220/.267/.299 (36-for-164) slash line this season, including a .132/.220/.245 (7-for-53) mark vs. left-handers. Effross has also held teams without a run in 20 of his last 24 appearances dating back to the beginning of June. 

Effross has been effective against right-handers as well, holding them to a .262 clip and a .287 OBP. He has also kept righty opponents to a .369 slugging percentage. The 28-year-old was called up to the majors last season.

The reliever had been on the Yankees’ radar since April, according to Boone, and the Yankees Skipper seemed quite enthused to have him in pinstripes. 

“I’ve heard his name a lot,” Boone said. I know our guys like him a lot. Obviously, he’s had a really good season this year. We’re getting a guy I feel like gets both handed out and is really having one of the better seasons of any reliever in the league. We think it’s a great addition and look forward to getting him settled in.”

Boone added: “He’s got weapons to get right and left-handed hitters out, so excited adding him to the mix.”

Effross wasn’t activated for Monday’s game against the Seattle Mariners and he was expected to fly into New York at some point Monday night. The New York manager said that he planned on using the new reliever in “a lot of different spots,” which included possibly in the closer spot. 

“That versatility will hopefully serve everyone well,” Boone said. 

The Yankees’ need for a reliever had come into focus a bit more as the trade deadline neared this week. It became more evident after they lost Michael King for the season in Baltimore in July. 

 Boone had told reporters on Sunday that he had liked what he had seen from his bullpen this season, despite a rough outing for it in a loss to the Kansas City Royals. The Yankees manager had tried to stay above the fray for the most part when pressed about the deadline. 

[ALSO READ: Yankees continue busy trade deadline adding Frankie Montas, Lou Trivino in deal with Athletics]

Effross isn’t a huge star, but he has quickly become a strong bullpen asset after converting to sidearm in 2019 and his almost sorcery-type pitches have made the rounds on social media.  

“He knows that this grip makes the ball do this, but if you maybe do a tad more on the horseshoe, maybe I gain an extra inch of horizontal movement,” Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy told The Athletic in May. “The fine-tuning we can do to make something that’s really good even incrementally better really makes a difference. And he’s really honed in on the ability to do all those things.”

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