With Pedro Feliciano officially re-signed, the bulk of the Yankees bullpen has been put together for next season. There is, however, room for one more arm. Without an addition, the Yankees could move forward with a bullpen that’s very similar to last season’s initial group, but there are still several impact, late-inning relievers on the market.
Rafael Soriano, Grant Balfour, Brian Fuentes, Jon Rauch and Kevin Gregg are still out there, but Brian Cashman has said he would be hesitant to pay closer money for a setup man. In many cases, the Yankees would also have to decide whether it’s worth losing a first-round pick to add a reliever.
Last year: Joba Chamberlain
This year: Chamberlain
At this time last year, Chamberlain was in the rotation mix. Now he’s a full-time reliever and seems poised to get another crack at the setup job unless the Yankees find a Kerry Wood replacement.
Last year: Dave Robertson
This year: Robertson
Of the in-house options, some combination of Robertson and Chamberlain seems best poised to setup for Rivera, handling the seventh and eighth innings as necessary. Pretty much the exact same late-inning situation as April of last year.
Last year: Damaso Marte
This year: Pedro Feliciano
One veteran lefty needed season-ending (probably) surgery, so the Yankees went out and found a replacement. Hard to pinpoint any sort of difference between Feliciano’s new role and Marte’s old role.
Last year: Sergio Mitre
This year: Mitre
Last season, the Yankees had an abundance of long-relief types. They’ve since let most of them go — Moseley, Gaudin, Aceves — leaving Mitre as the most obvious in-house long man. That’s, of course, assuming he doesn’t end up in the rotation.
Second long man/Second lefty
Last year: Alfredo Aceves
This year: Boone Logan
Last year’s bullpen was setup to have several multi-inning pitchers. This year’s seems to be designed for more than one left-hander. Logan became a great find in the second half of last season, and could go more than one inning if necessary.
Last year: Chan Ho Park
This year: ???
Spring training had already opened when the Yankees agreed to sign Park. They considered him a versatile reliever, one who could pitch his way into a late-inning role or pitch multiple innings at a time. It’s the same with the open spot in this year’s bullpen: It could be a second long man, or it could be a late-inning option. In-house choices include the Rule 5 picks, Robert Fish and Daniel Turpen, the out-of-options Romulo Sanchez or any number of minor leaguers including Mark Prior.
Associated Press photo