Red Sox agree to terms with aging ex-Yankees reliever

Red Sox agree to terms with aging ex-Yankees reliever


The Red Sox and left-hander Lucas Luetge are in agreement on a deal, according to a post on Luetge’s Instagram page. Luetge didn’t specify the terms of the arrangement, though it’s likely a minor league pact that includes an invite to big-league spring training.

Luetge, 37 next month, made his MLB debut back in 2012 as a member of the Mariners. The southpaw pitched decently during his rookie season, posting a roughly league average 3.98 ERA and 4.03 FIP while striking out 21.3 percentof batters faced and generating grounders at a 46.9 percent clip. Solid as those peripheral numbers were, Luetge’s overall performance was dragged down by control issues as he walked an elevated 13.5 faced of batters faced during his first season in the majors.

The left-hander spent the next three seasons shuttling between Triple-A and the majors for the Mariners, pitching to a 4.66 ERA and 4.47 FIP in 48 major league appearances while managing a slightly stronger 4.21 ERA across 94 appearances in the minors before he was outrighted to the minors in late 2015. He elected free agency shortly thereafter but would not return to the majors until 2021, when he joined the Yankees as a member of their bullpen.

Luetge enjoyed the best seasons of his career in the Bronx as he pitched to a 2.71 ERA and 2.92 FIP across 129 2/3 innings of work from during the 2021 and 2022 seasons. He struck out 25 percent of batters faced across those two seasons while walking just 5.8 percent, numbers impressive enough to earn him plenty of high-leverage opportunities with the club. Luetge’s tenure in New York came to a surprising end during the 2022-23 offseason when the Yankees designated him for assignment to make room for Tommy Kahnle on the 40-man roster.

He was traded to the Braves shortly thereafter and opened the 2023 campaign in their bullpen, though he didn’t last long on the club’s roster after allowing eleven runs in 9 2/3 innings of work during his first nine outings with the club. He was outrighted to Triple-A and remained with the Braves for the rest of the season. He returned to the big league club after the All-Star break and pitched four scoreless innings across three appearances down the stretch, though that wasn’t enough for the club to retain him on the 40-man roster headed into the offseason. Luetge was outrighted off the club’s roster once again in late September and elected free agency the next month.

Now, Luetge returns to the AL East in search of his next big league role. The Red Sox only have one left-handed relief option currently expected to make their major league bullpen in Brennan Bernardino. Luetge figures to join fellow non-roster southpaws Jorge Benitez and Cam Booser in the club’s bullpen competition this spring alongside Bernardino and Joe Jacques, both of whom are already on the club’s 40-man roster. If Luetge can return to the form he flashed during his time in New York, it would be a huge boon for a Boston club that posted a 4.18 ERA out of the bullpen last year, a figure that ranked just 16th in the majors.

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