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The New York Yankees have acquired right-handed pitcher JT Brubaker and international signing bonus money from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for a player to be named later. Brubaker did not pitch last season and was placed on the 60-day injured list in spring training. The 30-year-old’s last full season was in 2022, where he went 3-12 with a 4.69 ERA in 28 starts with Pittsburgh. Despite his struggles, Brubaker posted career highs in starts, innings pitched, and strikeouts. A native of Springfield, Ohio, Brubaker has pitched in parts of three Major League seasons and has a career record of 9-28 with a 4.99 ERA in 63 games with 61 starts. He is hoping to return to the mound after the All-Star Break and will have to work his way back into a rotation.

New York’s rotation is currently crowded, but Pittsburgh’s rotation is deeper, which explains why Brubaker was dealt. The Pirates have options like Mitch Keller, Martín Pérez, Marco Gonzales, Jared Jones, and Bailey Falter in the rotation, with prospects like Paul Skenes and Quinn Priester waiting in the wings. Skenes is expected to be called up soon, while Bubba Chandler will be a bit behind. Brubaker’s return to pitching will depend on the Yankees’ needs and the availability of ace Gerrit Cole. If the Yankees are in good shape when Brubaker is ready to return, he may be sent to Triple-A to build his arm strength and provide depth for the team while extending their club control over him.

The decision to trade Brubaker may have come down to how much the Pirates expect to use him in the second half of the season and in 2025 versus gaining something in return now. Brubaker has exactly four years of service time and has gone through arbitration once, earning $2.275 million in 2023 and agreeing to the same salary in 2024. If he performs well upon his return, the Yankees may choose to send him to Triple-A to further develop him and give their minor league system some depth. This strategy would also extend their club control over Brubaker, providing them with more flexibility in the future.

Brubaker was originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the sixth round of the 2015 MLB Draft out of the University of Akron. His trade to the Yankees will give him a chance to revive his career after missing the entire previous season due to injury. The Yankees will have to make a decision on how to utilize Brubaker once he is ready to return to the mound, as their rotation is already crowded with talented pitchers. The trade also involves international signing bonus money, which could be used by the Yankees to acquire additional talent or prospects in the future. Overall, the trade represents a strategic move by both teams to address their current needs and future plans for their pitching rotations.

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