The Yankees added pitching depth Monday, as they inked lefty Rex Brothers to a minor-league contract that presumably includes an invitation to major league Spring Training, according to Fancred‘s Jon Heyman.
Brothers has a volatile combination of a huge velocity spike combined with a lack of command. He’s averaged 96.6 mph with his fastball and peaked just above 98 mph when he made one appearance for the Braves in 2018. Brothers, in fact, has seen his average fastball velocity creep up during each of the last few seasons.
But, the lack of command for Brothers is also impressive, having walked 9.7 per nine in 40⅔ innings between Double-A and Triple-A in the Atlanta organization. His most recent productive full season in the big leagues came in 2013 for Colorado, where he made 72 appearances and saved 19 games for the Rockies.
This is a classic low-risk, high-reward minor-league signing for the Yankees. If they can figure out how to guide Brothers’ great stuff more consistently into the strike zone, they could stumble upon an impressive reliever. At 31, he could still contribute some meaningful innings should his command issues be ironed out. In the end, however, Brothers most likely is a Triple-A depth arm to keep the young guys in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre from getting overworked. But, the Yankees pitching coaches are holding out hope he could still be special out of the Yankees bullpen.
Brothers likely will compete with Stephen Tarpley and some other yet-to-be-signed veteran lefty for the non-Aroldis Chapman lefty role out of the bullpen. We’ll see how well Brothers does once Grapefruit League action commences.