Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The David Phelps Bullpen Audition Could Mean the End of David Robertson in Pinstripes

With David Phelps on his way back from elbow inflammation and being sent to the Yankees bullpen this could be serving as an audition of sorts for the 2015 season. You guys know me by now, I’m always thinking about next season whether we’re in the thick of things or not, and I believe the Yankees may be as well.

The Yankees current closer David Robertson is set to hit free agency after this season in his age 30 season and if Phelps can show he is capable of pitching out of the bullpen it may spell the end of Robertson in pinstripes. Much like after the 1996 season when the Yankees let 30 year old John Wetteland walk away via free agency and immediately plugged Mariano Rivera in as the closer after he burst onto the scene as a failed starter turned reliever. Dellin Betances would be Mariano in this situation and could slide into the ninth inning role for New York to replace Robertson.

If Robertson leaves and Betances moves up from the eighth inning then the Yankees would have to fill the void with either Shawn Kelley or Adam Warren. Phelps could conceivably earn his way into the 8th inning but knowing Joe Girardi and his tendencies like I think I do then Phelps would likely replace Warren in the pen and everyone else would take a step up leaving a glaring hole in the back end of the pen. Obviously New York could once again catch lightning in a bottle and throw Jose Ramirez into the bullpen and actually use him this time and you also have to remember that Jacob Lindgren is also expected to get a real look at spring training next season and could also help fill the gaps in.

For Phelps sake and the Yankees sake I hope he either gets bombed in the bullpen or shines, nothing in between. I don’t want the Yankees to have any excuse to keep moving the guy back and forth between the rotation and the pen a la Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes. I would like to see Phelps either become a mainstay in the starting rotation or a mainstay in the bullpen, not both. 

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