Yankees reliever Joe Mantiply.
By Brendan Kuty
When the Yankees claimed lefty reliever Joe Mantiply off waivers from the Tigers during the General Managers Meetings in November, it hardly registered, though he was the team’s first addition of the offseason.
When they designated him for assignment and then re-signed him not long after, the focus again barely shifted from the holes the Yankees still had head to fill.
But general manager Brian Cashman recently made it sound like the Yankees might have gotten a steal.
Speaking to fans at The Hard Rock Cafe in New York City on Tuesday, Cashman said Mantiply could end up an under-the-radar candidate to have a big impact on the Yankees’ bullpen in 2017.
“He’s a soft-tossing situational lefty that I know that people were coming up to me saying, you snookered us when you claimed him off waivers,” Cashman said.
“We wanted him as an insurance policy, as depth here. He’s probably a non-Yankee-radar person because he hit a roster for a very short period of time because of the waiver trade from the Tigers” and because of moves that changed his roster status.
A few thoughts:
1.) Put on the spot: Cashman didn’t exactly go out of his way to volunteer this. He was asked by the event’s MC to name a player fans didn’t know who could end up playing a role in 2017. Cashman isn’t expecting Mantiply to take over the seventh inning any time soon.
2.) Depth: Mantiply would appear third or fourth on the Yankees’ situational lefty depth chart right now, presumably behind Tommy Layne, Chasen Shreve and Richard Bleier, who each have 40-man roster spots.
3.) Strikeouts?: “Soft-tossing situational lefty” and strikeouts aren’t exactly synonymous but Mantiply carried a strong 8.9 K/9 through the minors.
4.) What he throws: Just to get a bit more acquainted with the 25-year-old from Virginia, Mantiply’s sinker and fastball sit in the high 80s and he mixes in a low 80s slider and changeup.