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Yankees trade for Pirates’ former Opening Day starter in latest New York-Pittsburgh deal



Yankees trade for Pirates' former Opening Day starter in latest New York-Pittsburgh deal

The Pittsburgh to New York pitching pipeline lives on. On Friday, the Pirates traded right-hander J.T. Brubaker and international bonus pool money to the Yankees for a player to be named later, the teams announced. Brubaker had Tommy John surgery last April and is expected to return sometime around this year’s All-Star.

Brubaker, 30, was Pittsburgh’s Opening Day starter in 2022. He owns a career 4.99 ERA in 315 2/3 big league innings, including a 4.69 ERA in 144 innings in 2022, his last healthy season. When healthy, Brubaker throws a mid-90s sinker and a high spin slider, two pitches the Yankees have emphasized as they’ve built their pitching staff the last few years.

This is the fifth Pirates-Yankees trade since Jan. 2021 and the third involving major-league players. All three of those involved a pitcher being sent to New York. Here are the other two:

Taillon gave the Yankees two solid seasons before leaving as a free agent and Holmes has emerged as one of the game’s top relievers since the trade. The six players the Pirates acquired in those two trades have combined for minus-1.5 WAR at the MLB level. Only Contreras, Escotto, and Smith-Njigba remain with Pittsburgh.

Furthermore, the Yankees also have former Pirates relievers Nick Burdi, Yerry De Los Santos, and Duane Underwood Jr. in the organization. Burdi made New York’s Opening Day roster. For whatever reason, there been a lot of overlap on the pitching side between the Yankees and Pirates the last few seasons.

Brubaker is owed $2.275 million this year and will remain under team control as an arbitration-eligible player in 2025. He also has two minor league options remaining, meaning the Yankees can send him to Triple-A in 2024 and 2025 without exposing him to waivers. That gives them a little roster flexibility as he works his way back from elbow surgery.

International bonus pool money must be traded in $250,000 increments. The Pirates had a $7,114,800 bonus pool this year, the largest in the game, while the Yankees had the smallest at $4,652,200. New York has until this Dec. 15 to spend the money they acquired in the trade. Odds are they already have signings lined up.

The Yankees and Pirates both picked up wins on Opening Day on Thursday. New York came back from a 4-0 deficit to beat the Houston Astros and the Pirates outlasted the Miami Marlins in 12 innings.





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