HomeMLB RumorsYankees Claim Michael Tonkin, Designate McKinley Moore

Yankees Claim Michael Tonkin, Designate McKinley Moore

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The Yankees announced that they have claimed right-hander Michael Tonkin off waivers from the Mets. He had been designated for assignment by the Mets earlier this week. To open a roster spot for Tonkin, right-hander McKinley Moore was designated for assignment.

Tonkin, 34, has been getting passed around the league so far this year. He was non-tendered by Atlanta at the end of last season and then signed a major league deal with the Mets. Shortly after the season started, he was designated for assignment and went to the Twins on a cash deal but then returned to the Mets on waivers. Now he’s on the move yet again and will join the Yankees.

Amid all those transactions, he has managed to throw nine innings on the year. He’s allowed six earned runs for a flat earned run average of 6.00, which obviously isn’t too impressive, but the peripherals are solid. He has struck out 23.9% of batters faced while walking 8.7% of them and keeping 44.4% of balls in play on the ground, with all of those rate stats coming in fairly close to league averages.

With Atlanta last year, he tossed 80 innings over 45 appearances. He had a 4.28 ERA in that time, as well as a 23.1% strikeout rate, 7.1% walk rate and 38.3% ground ball rate. He’s clearly an attractive enough bullpen arm that teams keep grabbing him but he’s also out of options and keeps getting squeezed.

Since he’s out of options, the Yankees will need to make room for him on the active roster whenever he reports to the team. Of their bullpen arms, Ian Hamilton, Ron Marinaccio and Cody Morris all have options and could be sent down. Hamilton isn’t likely the one to be packing his bag since he’s entered a high-leverage role for the Yankees. He had two saves and five holds last year and has already added four more holds this year.

To get Tonkin onto the 40-man, the Yankees have bumped off Moore. He’s only been with the Yanks a short time, having been claimed off waivers from the Phillies in February. He has made two appearances for the Triple-A club but walked six of the nine batters he faced.

That continues a pattern of control problems for the righty. He walked 23.8% of batters faced in his major league debut last year. In his 20 1/3 innings of minor league work in 2023, he struck out 40.7% of batters faced but also gave free passes to 24.2% of them.

The Yankees will now have one week to trade McKinley or pass him through waivers. The control problems will obviously be a concern to other teams but Moore’s also struck out 32.6% of batters faced throughout his entire minor league career. He averaged 97.2 miles per hour on his fastball during his MLB debut last year while also throwing a sweeper and a changeup. He still has a couple of options and could perhaps appeal to a club looking for a long-term project.

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