In a surprising move, the Yankees Designated left-handed reliever Lucas Luetge for assignment after announcing Tommy Kahnle's two-year deal. The Yankees bullpen is absolutely loaded, so they might not have a spot for Luetge, but the Los Angeles Angels definitely do.
Luetge made 111 appearances with the Mariners from 2011-2015 with 63 of those coming in his rookie season. He had a 3.98 ERA that season but struggled the following years and struggled to find his way back to the bigs.
He latched on with the Yankees in 2021 and made their Opening Day roster. Since making the roster, he never looked back and made 107 appearances in the last two years. Luetge finds himself DFA'd not because of his production, but because of how loaded the Yankees bullpen is.
The Angels should acquire Lucas Luetge from the Yankees
In 2021 Luetge had a 2.74 ERA in 57 appearances and 72.1 innings pitched. He walked just 1.9 batters per nine while striking out 9.7. He followed that up with a 2.67 ERA in 50 appearances and 57.1 innings pitched this past season for the Yankees. He walked 2.7 batters per nine while striking out 9.4.
Overall with the Yanks, he had a 2.71 ERA in 107 appearances and 129.2 innings pitched. He had a 2.92 FIP and a 152 ERA+. He was really good for the Yankees.
Luetge is a guy with a high strikeout rate, a low walk rate, and doesn't allow many home runs either. He thrives at limiting hard contact, ranking in the 100th percentile in hard-hit rate, the 97th percentile in average exit velocity, and the 81st percentile in barrel rate. There is a lot to like here.
The downside to Luetge is he allows a lot of hits. Opponents slashed .276/.335/.386 against him this past season. The .276 batting average is too high. He allowed 9.9 H/9, if that happened again it's unlikely he'd have as good of an ERA as he did.
The 35-year-old also has struggled in high-leverage spots. Opponents slashed .465/.478/.744 with two home runs in 46 plate appearances that were considered to be high leverage. In appearances that were considered medium leverage, opponents had just three hits in 43 at-bats without an extra-base hit. From innings 4-6 opponents hit .211 against him while in 7-9 they hit .297 against him. Two different pitchers.
The 35-year-old would fit in nicely alongside Jaime Barria as someone who can come in early in games and eat innings in a productive manner. He has control through the 2024 season and wouldn't cost much in a trade. If nobody trades for him, he can be claimed off of waivers.
The Angels should still look to acquire a reliever who can be trusted late in games, but Luetge for cheap could be a good get for Perry Minasian to consider.