It seems an odd bit of news, but FoxSports reported today that they’ve heard two different stories about the Yankees bullpen plans. Some say the Yankees are interested in Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano. Some say the Yankees are content to stay in house.
I have to think both are true.
Like with making a call to the Blue Jays about Roy Halladay, there’s no harm in checking in on Gonzalez and Soriano — personally, I’ve always liked both — but the past few years seem to have taught us that planning a bullpen is tricky. Part of the reason Mariano Rivera is so valuable is that he’s so reliable. It’s hard to find relievers like that, and it’s very easy to pay quite a bit of money for a reliever who falters. In the case of Damaso Marte, it’s easy to pay quite a bit of money to a reliever who falters, then comes up huge in the playoffs.
The Yankees have been able to find in-house setup candidates in unexpected places, whether in the young arm of Joba Chamberlain in 2007 or the rotation arm of Phil Hughes in 2009. David Robertson seemed to come into his own this season. Mark Melancon could do the same next year. Alfredo Aceves seems to be working well out of the bullpen. Grant Duff and Romulo Sanchez showed power arms in the minors.
I’m all for adding pieces, but the Yankees still have enough pitching depth in the system to make me think they don’t have to go overboard — in terms of money or lost draft picks — to add a seventh or eighth inning setup candidate. Bullpens tend to sort themselves out, and that’s all a free agent reliever would be is another candidate for the job.