Yankees Free Agent Target: Rafael Montero

One of the main concerns with how the Yankees got manhandled was how short the bullpen was. With Chad Green having to get Tommy John early in the season to Michael King who was one of the best relievers in baseball up until his injury. The Yankees were missing crucial names in the bullpen and that showed with Wandy Peralta having to pitch every game in the ALDS. Depth is the most important part of a bullpen and really the Yankees don’t have a solidified closer and today I’ll be showing y’all a guy who can be that guy.

Rafael Montero (baseball) - Wikipedia

So as much as many Yankees fans can remember of the ALCS they can remember the name Rafael Montero. Montero, a 32 year old relief pitcher has bounced around on a couple of teams so far, being in the Mets farm system since 2011 and floating around there for 3 years. Montero was ranked the 85th prospect in all of baseball and 3rd in the Mets system and things were looking up for him. 

Montero just couldn’t get it going in Queens with not being able to obtain an ERA lower than 4 in his stint. In Free Agency, Montero signed with the Texas Rangers but never really got a chance to pitch so he got traded to the Seattle Mariners for Jose Corniell and a player to be named later. Montero struggled in Seattle having a 7.27 ERA and was later DFA’d. 

In one of the bigger trades in the 2021 the Astros obtained Kendall Graveman and Rafael Montero and you would’ve never guessed what happened. The Astros are notorious for changing pitchers and turning them into superstars and Montero wasn’t any different. Being 31, most believed Montero’s days were numbers and that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Montero in 2022 posted a 2.37 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, a 9.6 K/9 and a 1.5 fWAR season for the Astros and now he’s looking at a future bag this offseason. Currently helping the Astros in route for their championship, Montero has supplied them with much needed filthiness.

PitchingBot is a website that calculates a pitcher’s “stuff” and how good it actually is. And Montero’s overall grade was a 70/80 with a 55/80 stuff grade and a 65/80 command grade. Montero is truly filthy with his 4-pitch mix of 4-Seam Fastball, Slider, Sinker and Changup and the Astros really did fix him making him throw more 4-Seam with an increase of 10% more percent thrown, increased his changeup usage and decreased his slider usage. 

The Yankees signing Montero would insure a closer spot possibly if Clay Holmes still finds himself inconsistent. The Yankees wouldn’t even have to offer a lot of money to this flamethrower. Analyzing Montero’s Baseball Savant page, you’ll come out saying that Montero, a hard throwing righty seems to make people miss the barrel and doesn’t get hit hard at all being in the 99th percentile in Barrel%. Yes he does give up walks but one thing for sure is he won’t be giving up hard contact with his HardHit% being in the 88th percentile with his Avg Exit Velo being in the 91st percentile.

I could deep dive into these pitching stats as long as I can live but that’ll just bore you guys so I’m gonna finish up saying that the Yankees didn’t have “that” closer this year with Holmes quickly falling off the stool. But Montero can be a short contract that Cashman can take a chance on because of how well he pitched this year and in the playoffs. And hey, signing any Astro can only just hurt them…maybe.

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