Ex-Mets player Phil Bickford, finds new life in Yankees’ Minor League system

Phil Bickford

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As stated by Conor Foley of YES Network, the New York Yankees have been active in bolstering their bullpen depth, signing right-hander Phil Bickford to a minor league contract on Tuesday. Bickford, a former first-round draft pick by the San Francisco Giants in 2015, will report to the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Why did the Yankees sign Phil Bickford?

Phil Bickford, new player of the new york yankees
David Becker / Las Vegas Review Journal

Now 28 years old, Phil Bickford brings 180.2 innings of major league experience to the Yankees organization, sporting a 4.43 ERA over his career. In 2022, he split time between the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets, tossing 67.1 innings with a 4.95 ERA, 10.16 strikeouts per nine innings, a 67.2% left-on-base rate, and a 27.9% ground ball rate. While he has struggled with walks at times, Bickford has excelled at limiting home runs, allowing just 1.07 per nine innings.

Phil Bickford’s repertoire features a four-seam fastball that averaged 93.7 mph last season, complemented by a slider and an occasional changeup. Interestingly, opposing hitters batted just .183 against his four-seamer in 2022, suggesting that his fastball could be a strength to build upon. However, his slider was less effective, yielding a .325 batting average against, despite possessing league-average movement.

The Yankees, known for their ability to maximize pitchers’ potential under the tutelage of pitching coach Matt Blake, may look to leverage Phil Bickford’s effective fastball while refining his secondary offerings. Blake could explore introducing a sweeping breaking ball to Bickford’s arsenal, as his slider has been a liability thus far in his career.

While Phil Bickford’s control has been an issue, with a 1.46 WHIP last season, his ability to generate strikeouts and induce ground balls makes him an intriguing project for the Yankees’ pitching staff. If Blake and the organization can help Bickford improve his command and develop a more consistent secondary pitch, he could potentially emerge as a valuable late-inning option for the Yankees’ bullpen.

The low-risk nature of Bickford’s minor league deal allows the Yankees to assess his progress at the Triple-A level without committing substantial resources. If he can showcase improved control and a refined arsenal, Bickford could find himself contributing to the big league club sooner rather than later, filling a potential need in the Yankees’ bullpen.

Yankees switch up bullpen with latest updates

Nick Ramirez during a Yankees training
NY POST

On the same day, in a surprising move, the New York Yankees have traded left-handed reliever Nick Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for cash considerations. Ramirez, who had been a consistent presence in the Yankees’ bullpen, will now don Dodger blue as he embarks on the next chapter of his career.

Ramirez’s departure leaves a void in the Yankees’ bullpen, where he had become a reliable option, particularly against left-handed hitters. His ability to induce ground balls and maintain a solid ERA made him a valuable asset for the team during the 2023 season.

While the Yankees will miss Ramirez’s contributions, this trade also presents an opportunity for the team to potentially explore internal options or seek reinforcements to fill the void left by his departure. With the season underway, the Yankees will need to quickly adapt and adjust their bullpen strategy to compensate for Ramirez’s absence.

As for Ramirez himself, his move to the Dodgers presents an exciting opportunity to make a fresh impact in a new environment. With his wealth of experience and versatile skill set, Ramirez is poised to contribute significantly to the Dodgers’ efforts in fortifying their bullpen and pursuing postseason glory.

While Ramirez’s departure may initially present a challenge for the Yankees, it also signifies a chance for new opportunities and adjustments as they navigate the season ahead.

Regarding the addition of Phil Bickford, it underscores the Yankees’ strategic approach of identifying undervalued pitchers with untapped potential and leveraging their strengths to address team needs. While success isn’t guaranteed, Phil Bickford’s promise, combined with the Yankees’ proven track record in nurturing pitching talent, makes this acquisition a calculated risk aimed at further bolstering their bullpen depth.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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One thought on “Ex-Mets player Phil Bickford, finds new life in Yankees’ Minor League system

  1. If these kids have no chance, time to release some of them if Cashman is just going to keep signing veterans arms! Already pissed off at who they put where in the 4 full season minor league teams.

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