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Yankees add second lefty reliever to bullpen in Dodgers trade for two pitchers

The Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees have hooked up for another trade. The Yankees are acquiring lefty reliever Caleb Ferguson from the Dodgers for two pitchers: LHP Matt Gage and RHP Christian Zazueta, the team announced Monday.

This is the second Yankees-Dodgers trade involving a lefty reliever this offseason. In December, New York landed lefty Victor González and infield prospect Jorbit Vivas for former first-round pick Trey Sweeney. That move helped the Dodgers clear 40-man roster spot for Joe Kelly and Shohei Ohtani. The Yankees had open 40-man spots after the Juan Soto trade.

Ferguson, 27, threw 60 1/3 innings with a 3.43 ERA last year, though his .266/.356/.392 line against lefties leaves something to be desired. He started seven games as an opener, though the Yankees rarely deployed that maneuver in 2023. Ferguson will be a free agent after 2024 and will help replace Wandy Peralta in New York’s bullpen. Peralta signed with the San Diego Padres last week.

With Ferguson added, Yankees manager Aaron Boone’s bullpen figures to look something like this:

With the caveat that other moves are possible between now and Opening Day, the Dodgers figure to lean on Alex Vesia as their go-to lefty out of the bullpen with Ferguson traded. They also have Ryan Yarbrough, though he’s more of a swingman than a left-on-left matchup reliever like Ferguson and Vesia.

Soon after the trade was reported, the Dodgers agree to terms with righty Ryan Brasier on a two-year, $9 million contract. Brasier rejoins Los Angeles after finishing last season with the club. He had a 7.29 ERA with the Boston Red Sox, got released him June, then the Dodgers picked him up and taught him a cutter. Brasier had a 0.70 ERA in 38 innings with the Dodgers.

Gage, 30, bounced from the Toronto Blue Jays to the Houston Astros to the Yankees on waivers within the last calendar year. He has a career 1.83 ERA in 19 2/3 big league innings with Toronto and Houston. New York claimed him off waivers last week. Recent waiver claims are rarely trade fodder. Zazueta, 19, has spent two seasons in the Dominican Summer League, pitching to a 4.54 ERA across more than 73 innings and 20 starts.

The Yankees went 82-80 and missed the postseason in 2023. It was their worst record since 1992. The Dodgers, meanwhile, went 100-62 and won the NL West for the tenth time in the last 11 years. They were quickly swept in the Division Series by the Arizona Diamondbacks, however.

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