Rafael Soriano is already making closer money, his numbers are down, and he’s coming off an injury-shortened season that saw him dumped from the eighth inning to the seventh. Hard to imagine him opting out after a year like that.
Mariano Rivera has one more year on his contract, Dave Robertson has emerged as an all-star and Joba Chamberlain is ahead of schedule in his recovery from Tommy John surgery.
The key pieces of the Yankees 2012 bullpen are already in place. What’s left is rounding out the edges.
Left-handed relief: Boone Logan is due for an arbitration raise. Despite a down year overall, he went through a terrific stretch in the middle, and the Yankees seem likely to bring him back. I’m not sure his inconsistencies have been any worse than most lefty specialists, and the Yankees have learned the hard way that left-handed reliever is not the easiest spot to fill. Pedro Feliciano is likely a complete bust, and the Yankees should easily turn down Damaso Marte’s option. They could, once again, go looking for a second left-hander.
Middle relief: Two low-profile additions gave the Yankees a big boost in the middle innings this season. Cory Wade is certainly worth bringing back for a second look, and the Yankees might have sen enough of Luis Ayala to be curious about what he can do next season. Middle relievers will surely come and go in the course of the season, but Wade in particular is an intriguing option going forward.
Long relief: This was Bartolo Colon’s job out of spring training, then he moved to the bullpen and the Yankees eventually settled on Hector Noesi as their true long man. Noesi has value as a potential starter, but he also seemed thrive in this spot and could certainly return to it next season. George Kontos is also worth a look here, and all of that Triple-A rotation depth means the Yankees have no shortage of young pitchers capable of throwing multiple innings. The system is more than ready to fill this role without the need for another Sergio Mitre or Chad Gaudin signing.
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