The idea of figuring out a bullpen during the season makes sense. We’ve always known that relievers are a big unreliable from year to year, and we saw the Cardinals and Red Sox go to the World Series with bullpens that had at least partially fallen apart and been put back together. Throwing massive amounts of money at relievers is probably not the best way to approach free agency. That makes sense.
But it’s still a bit odd to see all of these late-inning relievers landing elsewhere, while the Yankees depleted bullpen has added only a veteran lefty.
Today it’s Joaquin Benoit who’s come off the market, signing a two-year deal with the Padres. I assume he’ll be the setup man behind Huston Street.
There are still some potential impact relievers out there — Fernando Rodney probably has the highest profile; there are also higher risk options like Jesse Crain, Andrew Bailey and Chris Perez — but it seems the Yankees are going to have to find at least one impact reliever internally. Dave Robertson has a track record, and Shawn Kelley put himself in the picture with last year’s strikeout rate, but two relievers plus a hard-throwing lefty isn’t enough to build a bullpen.
I keep thinking of Jose Ramirez’s big fastball and relatively polished changeup, thinking that combination could play well in the bullpen. There is also Mark Montgomery looking to pitch himself back onto the map, the potential of David Phelps as a kind of do-it-all reliever, and the still tantalizing raw stuff of Dellin Betances. Half of the bullpen is relatively wide open, and it seems inevitable that someone is going to get a chance to sink or swim.