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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Best case, worst case: Bullpen

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Feb 06, 2013 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Mo’s back, so all must be right in the world, right? Truth is, the Yankees bullpen has the potential for good and bad. There are quality arms that come with legitimate questions, most of them relating to injuries and the ability to bounce back. What the current group of relievers does not offer is much long-term stability. There’s a very good chance that, at this time next year, four of the Yankees top five relievers will have signed elsewhere or retired.

Best-case scenario
Falling in line
The potential here is pretty obvious. Mariano Rivera is the greatest closer of all time. David Aardsma was a pretty good closer before his elbow injury. Joba Chamberlain is still just 27 years old and doesn’t have to be his 2007 self to still have a good fastball/slider combination. Boone Logan held lefties to a .231/.293/.372 slash line last season. Dave Robertson could very well be one of the five best setup men in the game.

If missing last season actually saved a few bullets in Rivera’s arm; if Chamberlain and Aardsma gets back to their old selves two years after Tommy John (which wouldn’t be out unprecedented); if Logan can get back to a normal workload focused on left-on-left matchups; and if Robertson can keep his walk rate where it was last season the Yankees will have a shutdown bullpen in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. Add a long reliever (David Phelps, Ivan Nova, Adam Warren, whoever) and a situational reliever (probably Clay Rapada as an early-inning lefty specialist) and the Yankees bullpen could be an overall strength just like last season.

What would really make it a best-case scenario, though, would be the arrival of a few long-term options. Mark Montgomery, Chase Whitley and Francisco Rondon should be knocking on the door to the big leagues fairly early this season. Same for Preston Claiborne, Kelvin Perez and Cesar Cabral. That’s six young relievers who could work their way into the mix if opportunities present themselves. In fact, the best-case scenario involves some tough choices about sticking with what’s working vs. giving opportunities to young pitchers who are ready. If lower-level relievers like Branden Pinder, Tom Kahnle and Nick Goody also take significant steps — let’s call them Montgomery-sized steps — then the Yankees long-term bullpen concerns would be significantly eased.

Worst-case scenario
A one-man show
Robertson has been pretty good for four years now, and he’s been at his best the past two years. Even his worst-case scenario — given reasonable parameters that don’t involve tripping down another step — is pretty solid. He’s the most dependable piece of this bullpen. It’s the pieces around him the Yankees have to worry about. 

For years we’ve wondered how much longer Rivera can be his old self. Is this the year we get a definitive answer? Chamberlain was eratic in his return from the disabled list last season, and Aardsma hasn’t pitched enough for anyone to say how good he’ll be post-surgery. Logan made a ton of appearances last year, and might not be up for carrying such a heavy load this time. The proven backups are guys like Rapada, Jim Miller, Josh Spence and Cody Eppley — guys who were released or designated for assignment in the past year or so, and there’s usually a reason for that.

One other thing we’ve learned about relief pitchers: They’re notoriously unreliable. It’s a select few that are able to consistenty get results frosuch an inconsistent job. There are high hopes for Montgomery, but he’s made 15 appearances above A ball. Rondon has trouble with the strike zone, Whitley isn’t a typically overpowering relief prospect, Cabral is still working his way back from an injury, and Perez was never on the radar much until last season. A lot of the Yankees relief prospects seem to be fairly safe bets, but really, how many safe-bet relievers are there?

Associated Press photos

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61 Responses to “Best case, worst case: Bullpen”

  1. yankeefeminista February 6th, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    Go Yanks!!!

  2. Shame Spencer February 6th, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    @MjordanW9

    Welcome all my new followers!! We have fun on this side..

    Joba_62

    @MjordanW9 what side is that….

    @MjordanW9

    @Joba_62 the side me and my followers are on..

    @Joba_62

    @MjordanW9 and that is…. #confused

    @MjordanW9

    I take it bak.. there is no side then.. me and my followers have fun..RT @Joba_62: @MjordanW9 and that is…. #confused

    @Joba_62

    @MjordanW9 that’s better. Proud of u young man!!

    —————–

    What a weird exchange.

  3. jacksquat February 6th, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Wasn’t this already done for the bullpen? :???:

  4. Nick in SF February 6th, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    I remember once (scanning the twitter feed as shown here) seeing Phil Hughes make a subtle joke to Joba and it going over Joba’s head.

  5. Nick in SF February 6th, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Wasn’t this already done for the bullpen?”

    Chad, I can knock out a bonus pinch-hitter post if you need blog filler until you get to Tampa, but you’ve got to ask. I did my first one on spec, but the next has to be on assignment.

  6. Shame Spencer February 6th, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Nick in SF February 6th, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Wasn’t this already done for the bullpen?”

    Chad, I can knock out a bonus pinch-hitter post if you need blog filler until you get to Tampa, but you’ve got to ask. I did my first one on spec, but the next has to be on assignment.

    ———————-

    This could turn out like Doc Ellis’ perfect game, Chad. I’d take him up on the offer.

  7. Rich in NJ February 6th, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    I would rather talk about any real baseball topic multiple times than PED hysteria.

  8. Patrick February 6th, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Old Hoss Radbourn ?@OldHossRadbourn
    If only we could go back to the halcyon days of runs batted in, put-outs, godlike athletes who never erred, and a more innocent America.

    Old Hoss Radbourn ?@OldHossRadbourn
    Then, in the rosy dawn of our innocence, scribes would cover up R. Braun’s PED story, focusing instead on black balling him for being a Jew.

  9. Shame Spencer February 6th, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Sorry.. it was a no hitter!

    Still awesome, however.

  10. Shame Spencer February 6th, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    The following is the ad appearing at the top of my screen:

    A-Rod Biogenesis Hoax?
    http://www.thedailycannibal.com
    Was A-Rod Really Ever There? Nobody Saw Him

  11. Shame Spencer February 6th, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    That Old Hoss account is spectacular… I wish I knew who ran it.

    Our Twitter celebrity status is all up to Fake Peter Gammons right now.

  12. Shame Spencer February 6th, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    @eboland11

    Using WFAN app and enjoying listening to Francesa talking about the Super Ball.

  13. Rich in NJ February 6th, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    A-Rod probably gets the PEDs for his (prospective) girlfriends. He doesn’t need them.

  14. Doreen February 6th, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    You know Rich, the thought crossed my mind. He’s dating a body builder/wrestler, right? And Cameron Diaz got super-toned 0-body fat while she dated ARod. Then there’s Madonna. Only the lovely and kooky Kate Hudson seemed not in the mold.

    ;)

  15. Rich in NJ February 6th, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Doreen

    Notice that I didn’t include an emoticon…

  16. Doreen February 6th, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Rich, I am an habitual emoticon (ab)user.

  17. blake February 6th, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    Mason posts weird stuff on twitter…..

  18. Ys Guy February 6th, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    “Was A-Rod Really Ever There? Nobody Saw Him”

    ————————————————————
    well, since si.com reported that bosch went to arod to administer the drugs, you wouldnt expect anyone there to see him now, would you?

  19. Jerkface February 6th, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    well, since si.com reported that bosch went to arod to administer the drugs, you wouldnt expect anyone there to see him now, would you?

    So what is that report based on?

  20. Nick in SF February 6th, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    If this link doesn’t work, search youtube for “SF Seals Dock Ellis” (if you want to hear Barbara Manning sing a song called “Dock Ellis”, that is):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....ata_player

  21. Rich in NJ February 6th, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    “So what is that report based on?”

    Does it matter? If there is a negative report about A-Rod, it is necessarily true.

  22. Ys Guy February 6th, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    ” Rich in NJ February 6th, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    “So what is that report based on?”

    Does it matter? If there is a negative report about A-Rod, it is necessarily true.”
    ————————————————————————-
    when was the last bad news about arod that turned out NOT to be true?

  23. Ys Guy February 6th, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    …i guess when that chick said arod had 2 centaur paintings of himself.

    …he swears he only has one!

    …then again, he swore he didn’t use steroids…….

  24. Rich in NJ February 6th, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    “when was the last bad news about arod that turned out NOT to be true?”

    This is why character evidence is generally inadmissible in a court of law.

  25. J. Alfred Prufrock February 6th, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    The enjoyment you take from of Alex’s alleged demise is kind of ugly to witness.

  26. FiretheUMPIRE February 6th, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    I don’t feel sorry for Arod. Just think how Montero feels. He was illegit before he was ever legit.

  27. J. Alfred Prufrock February 6th, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    Of course you don’t “feel sorry” for him. You wouldn’t be you if you did.

  28. Rich in NJ February 6th, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    Yeah, I would take Stewie over Montero any day.

  29. FiretheUMPIRE February 6th, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Is that the bar now?

  30. Rich in NJ February 6th, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    No, the bar is deciding whether or not he is “illegit” based on virtually nothing.

  31. tomingeorgia February 6th, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    I take no joy in other people’s shortcomings, real or alleged. Arod was one of the great ball players of all time. I grieve for his downfall, and if Montero were to be found dealing in this crap, I grieve for him, too. I’m sick of the whole mess. There’s baseball to be played, though, and soon, thank the Lord.

  32. J. Alfred Prufrock February 6th, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Well, there’s no proof of any wrongdoing, but amen to that.

  33. J. Alfred Prufrock February 6th, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Speaking of baseball, it would be a delight if Abe Almonte really gets to show off how good he is in ST. He’s more advanced than brother Zoilo, and could possibly push some people, if his health would ever allow. Maybe Mariano would see fit to let him get through a whole season healthy :)

  34. Rich in NJ February 6th, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    I don’t rule out the possibility that A-Rod or Montero or Casey at the Bat used. But to conclude that any particular player did without a full and fair hearing runs contrary to the traditions of American jurisprudence.

    As I suggested above, some of A-Rod’s g/fs are far more ripped than he is.

    I also think park effects may have a bigger effect than PEDs.

  35. Ys Guy February 6th, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    if it was pineda you two would be calling for him to be drawn and quartered tomorrow.

  36. Ys Guy February 6th, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    personally, im willing to wait and see what happens with cervelli and montero as i have no reason not to believe them or at least consider them innocent until proven guilty.

    braun and arod are liars and deserve no such allowance imo.

  37. J. Alfred Prufrock February 6th, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    YsGuy, not everyone is as depraved as you are.

  38. Ys Guy February 6th, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    you only get the benefit of the doubt until you prove yourself unworthy of it.

    arod and braun both blew thier benefit of the doubt.

  39. tomingeorgia February 6th, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Note the word, “alleged”. I haven’t seen anything yet to convict anybody of anything, not Arod, not Montero, not Cervelli, not any one. It’s Salem in the 1660s around here when it comes to predetermining guilt. I’ve got a lot more to worry about than others’ holier than thou attitudes. That’s what all these procedures, tribunals an due process is about. It will be sorted out. Until then, let’s play ball!

  40. J. Alfred Prufrock February 6th, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    Yet there’s a story about a team bringing in “experts” to show its players how to evade detection.

    The problem is systemic; getting this guy or that guy is MLB running to stand still. They have no interest in really cleaning up the problem, only in appearing so. Your sword is pointed at the wrong target, but knock yourself out, dude.

  41. Ys Guy February 6th, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    hahahaha has to be killing you jap.

    you dont know me, you dont know anything about my depravity or lack thereof.

    and answer me this, when was the last time you wrote anything good about the yankees?

    you act like im always negative but you never have a good thing to say except about your boy montero.

  42. trisha - true pinstriped blue February 6th, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    See now these are the things that make me feel bad. Do you know that there are players on the Yankees (and yes, other teams) who will make more next season than the entire payroll of the Houston Astros? Where’s the equality in that? Where’s the fairness in that? Where’s the justice in that? Their entire payroll for next season is $20 million. And people are upset that the Yankees want to stay under $189 million.

    It really makes me sick. (“It” being the inequality in payrolls in the MLB.) And it makes me sad for the fans of those teams, as well as the players who may not play in front of a lot of fans and who probably feel their teams don’t stand much of a chance. Add to it that the poor Astros now get to be part of the Al East.

    Damn.

  43. J. Alfred Prufrock February 6th, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    I know enough to know I want to know no more.

    Listening to you dance a jig every five minutes in here on Alex’s grave tells me all I need to know.

    You are your body of work here, just as I am mine.

  44. Ys Guy February 6th, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    yes i am one of the more positive posters on here, i dont deny it.

    so i hate arod, i’ve never hid that. in fact i first came here in 2007 to discuss the arod opt-out and speak my piece why they should NEVER bring him back if he opted out.

    guess what?… i was right.

  45. blake February 6th, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    We pause this PED debate to post the 80s song of the day

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Er1j1Jjc0vM

  46. Ys Guy February 6th, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    if im depraved b/c i hate arod, there’s a whole nation of depraved people out there.

    probably including about 80% of the players in mlb.

  47. yankeefeminista February 6th, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    Is it ST yet? :twisted:

  48. yankeefeminista February 6th, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4IYaJCkinA

  49. J. Alfred Prufrock February 6th, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    yankeefem – can Abe Almonte stay healthy this year? If he can, he can help the Yankees.

  50. RMS February 6th, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    Note the word, “alleged”.

    =======================================================
    OJ also “alleged.”

  51. J. Alfred Prufrock February 6th, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    trisha, then you are in favor of a hard cap.

  52. yankeefeminista February 6th, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Pruf, Abe hasn’t yet, but here’s hoping.

    Note on that great live version EC in Japan with Nick Lowe. :thumbsup:

  53. J. Alfred Prufrock February 6th, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    I’m positive too: positive we need a new GM.

  54. tomingeorgia February 6th, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    RMS,
    Tried and acquitted. Didn’t say everything is perfect, but he got his day, which these guys haven’t been given in this blog.

  55. J. Alfred Prufrock February 6th, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    That’s a cool version, YF, I’ve never heard it! But you’re wasting your breath, I’m afraid. Good listen :D

    I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed for Abe.

  56. Ys Guy February 6th, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    ” J. Alfred Prufrock February 6th, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    I’m positive too: positive we need a new GM.”
    ========================================
    …and lets not forget you’re positive your boy montero is going to be ‘generatioinal’

  57. J. Alfred Prufrock February 6th, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    …how do you root against your own cleanup hitter all these years? Weird.

  58. J. Alfred Prufrock February 6th, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    YsGuy, you sound an awful lot like Stoneburner. You bore me almost as much as he does. Troll on.

  59. Bronx Jeers February 6th, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    We pause this PED debate to post the 80s song of the day

    ————————–

    Hey, if you want to mix PEDs with synth pop then this song is really our answer…

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AaUot_QIHvM

  60. J. Alfred Prufrock February 6th, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    If you want to discuss Montero, he should have a very strong year, if he’s healthy. Especially because he’ll be doing a lot of catching.

    Interestingly, someone pointed out that he hits RHP better when he’s catching, than he does LHP when he’s DH’ing. Let the kid catch!

  61. pat February 6th, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    Todd Helton doesn’t appear to be in the best shape of his life. Yow.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/.....1;mlb.html

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