With Brian Cashman apparently more or less done trying to add to the Yankees’ rotation this winter, New York’s GM has turned his attention toward bolstering the team’s bullpen. That process continued on Monday afternoon, as the Yankees reportedly acquired lefty reliever Caleb Ferguson from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Jon Heyman first broke news of the deal, with Joel Sherman adding that New York would be sending two prospects back to L.A. in return.
Haven't been told the names of the prospects, but were described to me as a faraway prospect who has pitched in the Dominican Summer League the past few years and a Quadruple-A type pitcher. https://t.co/4S2nDI33ko— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) February 5, 2024
Ferguson is the second Dodgers left-hander that the Yankees have added to their bullpen so far this winter, coming on the heels of the trade that brought Victor Gonzalez to New York last December. While Gonzalez has the sort of funky stuff and delivery that could make him a sort of Wandy Peralta 2.0, Ferguson is the more appealing pitcher of the two, coming off a 2023 season in which he posted a 3.43 ERA (3.34 FIP) with 70 strikeouts in 60.1 innings while serving as L.A.’s primary lefty relief option. Ferguson has a four-seam fastball and slider, and it’s worth noting that the Dodgers didn’t limit him to only facing left-handed batters — in fact, his OPS against lefties last year (.748) was higher than his mark against righties (.702), reverse splits that have held true throughout his six-year career in the Majors.
It’s easy to see why the Yankees had interest in Ferguson. Most of New York’s main high-leverage options — Jonathan Loaisiga, Tommy Kahnle, Ian Hamilton, Scott Effross — come with real injury red flags, and adding one more arm to that mix for depth purposes certainly can’t hurt. Plus, with Peralta moving on to the Padres, Gonzalez was the only lefty in New York’s bullpen with a meaningful MLB track record. Ferguson missed the 2021 season due to Tommy John surgery, but he’s been very solid in the two years since, showing a consistent ability to keep the ball on the ground — a must in Yankee Stadium, and something the Yankees have really focused on in their relief targets in recent years.
The Dodgers, meanwhile, are taking something of the opposite approach: With Gonzalez and Ferguson gone, Alex Vesia becomes the one lefty currently slated for the L.A. bullpen this season. Granted, there’s plenty of time left for Andrew Friedman to change that, and the team will almost certainly replace Ferguson’s spot on the 40-man roster with another reliever. Los Angeles must feel like they can fill that spot effectively elsewhere, and figured they’d add some more depth to their already well-stocked farm system while they’re at it.