Friday, April 19 2024

As for relief pitching, the Yankees are said to be pursuing Hector Neris. Such a move might seem odd on the surface since the Bombers repped the best bullpen in baseball last year. Steinbrenner would also face more luxury tax penalties by signing Neris, who is reportedly seeking $8 million-plus annually. Cot’s Contracts projects the Yankees to exceed a $300 million competitive balance tax payroll this year, a value that would represent a franchise first. The third and final tier of luxury tax penalties is set at $297 million in 2024. New York already paid $34.4 million in tax money for exceeding the final luxury tier last year, per the Associated Press. 

But this isn’t the time for the win-now Yankees to hold back in spending. Neris would be a notable addition and is more than affordable. As of now, the relief corps advertises Clay Holmes, Tommy Kahnle and Jonathan Loaisiga as late-game, high-leverage arms. They could reunite with Wandy Peralta or add another bargain-bin reliever, which would help some, but signing the feisty Neris would make for a splashier move, one that could recast that back end of the bullpen into a serious threat. Adding Neris, who boasted a career-best 1.71 ERA across 71 relief appearances for the Astros last year, would also create some insurance for the Yankees’ aforementioned unpredictable, built-on-hope starting rotation. 

The Yankees have come a long way since their sour ending to the 2023 season. By now, they’re certainly better than they were last year, good enough on paper to get into the playoffs. Fangraphs has the Orioles pegged as the favorite of the loaded AL East, but with the Yanks projected to win about 90 games, that could still earn them their 59th postseason appearance in franchise history. They want more than that, of course. They want their first World Series appearance since 2009. They want title No. 28. They want to become the Evil Empire again. And if they want all that, they need to continue filling holes and erasing question marks. They need to make at least a couple more moves. 

They need to go all-in.

Deesha Thosar is an MLB writer for FOX Sports. She previously covered the Mets as a beat reporter for the New York Daily News. The daughter of Indian immigrants, Deesha grew up on Long Island and now lives in Queens. Follow her on Twitter at @DeeshaThosar.

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