Tuesday, October 14, 2014

2015 Yankees If I Were GM: The Bullpen

The biggest strength of the New York Yankees since manager Joe Girardi has taken over has been the bullpen. Girardi has been able to adjust on the fly and mix and match well enough to keep the Yankees bullpen at the top of the league in terms of effectiveness. Girardi got away from this philosophy a little much this season when he relied heavily on the strikeout factory of Adam Warren, Dellin Betances, and David Robertson and also used Shawn Kelley a little too much but overall it was another successful season for the bullpen. Now with the impending free agency of Robertson and his 39 saves the bullpen may be a weakness for the first time in ages.

First and foremost Robertson is getting a qualifying offer for one year and $15.3 million. If Robertson wants the stability of a long term contract over the huge payday and almost a tripled salary then I almost have to hand him a contract and tell him to fill it out, sign it, and get back to me. Many around the blogosphere are ready to hand the reigns over to Betances but I am not ready just yet. That is not meant to be a knock on Betances whatsoever it just goes to show you how valuable Robertson has been. Sure Robertson is replaced by Betances as the 9th inning guy but do we really want to rely on Adam Warren in the 8th inning? Kelly in the 8th? Robertson gets replaced but who replaces Betances? There is no Betances on the free agent market and there is no Betances in the farm system unless Jacob Lindgren lights up the place.

Speaking of Lindgren after I secure Robertson for the 9th, slide Betances back to the 8th, and hope that Warren and Kelley can hold down the 7th I call up the young lefty as a LOOGY and multiple inning reliever. I would also give Jose Ramirez an extended look in spring training along with Bryan Mitchell to see if either are ready to take the next step.

The final bullpen slots will likely be filled by the players who miss out on the starting rotation, namely David Phelps and Shane Greene. I would love to have both of them starting but realistically, unless the Yankees uncharacteristically go against the grain and go to a six man rotation, one of them seems destined for the bullpen without even signing a single free agent. If a James Shields or Jon Lester was signed it is extremely likely that both would head to bullpen.

That’s it, I stick to the plan and I keep the homegrown talent in the bullpen. Between Robertson, Betances, Kelley, Warren, and Lindgren there may not be enough strikeouts to go around and that makes for an exciting and effective bullpen. 

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)