Mets, Yankees Trade Relievers to Bolster Respective Bullpens

A rare trade between the Mets and Yankees took place Sunday as both New York squads sought to strengthen their bullpens before Opening Day.

The Mets sent right-handed pitcher Miguel Castro to the Bronx in exchange for lefty pitcher Joely Rodríguez. It is just the 16th trade in history between the organizations and the first one since 2018 when the teams swapped minor leaguers L.J. Mazzilli and Kendall Coleman.

Rodriguez, 30, posted a 4.66 ERA in 52 combined games in 2021 for the Rangers and Yankees. The lefty performs well against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .203/.288/.271 slash line last season. Against right-handed batters, Rodriguez faces more difficulty, with hitters slashing .339/.380/.446 in 2021.

The trade gives the Mets a must-needed lefty in the bullpen that previously featured no such relievers on the Opening Day roster. As of Monday, April 4, Rodriguez joins Chasen Shreve as the only two lefties on the 28-man roster.

“We had been talking a little bit about some of the excess left-handers that the Yankees have had,” Billy Eppler, Mets general manager said in an interview. “Clearly, left-handed relief was something that we were looking for. We were able to find a trade partner, and oddly enough, it was across town.”

For the Yankees, they get 27-year-old Castro, who, in 2021, had career bests in ERA (3.45) and strikeouts (77). Last season, the right-hander threw better against lefties, holding them to .198/.313/.270.

The Bronx Bombers were in need of a right-handed reliever due to Zack Britton healing from Tommy John surgery.

“We were serving each other’s needs is what it seemed like to me,” Eppler said. “They wanted to get a little more right-handed, we wanted to get left-handed. The circumstances just aligned.”

(Photo: Getty Images; cropped)

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