Monday, February 15, 2021

The Yankees' interest in fortifying their bullpen is a reminder of last year's failure

A common thread played out in last October's ALCS: 

Whenever the Yankees rallied, Tampa brought in some new bullpen stud - they had a lifetime supply - and, poof, everything melted. At the start of 2020, our staff of relievers was hailed as the best in baseball. By the end, our Geiko calls to the bullpen were being answered by Cellino & Barnes.

We can parse many reasons for this. Basically, we never found one young breakout reliever. Whenever someone looked promising, he got whacked. 

For a while, Michael King encouraged us. His final ERA: 7.76. 

Nick Nelson briefly gave hope. He finished at 4.79.

Albert Abreu? The cannon arm? His came in at - yikes! - a 20.25 ERA. (That's no typo or a mix-up with the lone hit from Zager & Evans.)

Miguel Yajure? Well, he's now a Pirate. Ben Heller is gone. Michael Holder is gone. James Reeves? A Padre. Gone guys.

We spent March heralding the wave of young arms. We spent last October turning over rocks. We had described the Yankee Tampa complex - with Forbin Project computers to track spin rates and exit-velo - akin to Professor X's Mutant Academy. But instead of the Beast, we got the Spleen. Of course, we blame Covid. But every team in baseball faced the same virus. We kept slogging, waiting for someone to arrive. Nobody did. Tampa's staff came of age, and that's China Town, Jake.

Which brings me to the latest rumor: The Yankees are said to be in "serious" talks with Justin Wilson, the 33-year-old lefty who is remembered fondly as the guy we once traded to get Mean Chad Green. One problem: Wilson is also talking with the Mets, setting up perhaps the first time that Steve Cohen and Hal Steinbrenner go head-to-head in a bidding war. (Spoiler alert: I'd bet on Cohen.)

Right now, here's the Yank bullpen:

Aroldis Chapman, 33.
Zack Britton, 33.
Chad Green, 30.
Luis Cessa, 29.
Darren O'Day, 38.
Jonathan Loaisiga, 26.
King, 26.
Nelson, 25.
Abreu, 25.
Brooks Kriske, 26.
Kyle "Bear Claw" Barraclough, 30.
Asher "Wojo" Wojciechowski, 32.
Hey, there, you? Yeah, you. Wanna try on a uniform?

The 2021 Yankees look like an old, fragile team with a lot of uncertainties. They could win the division by 10 games. Or they could be dumping salaries at the deadline. 


JM said...

Like they said in the olden times, never trust anyone over 30.

We can make an exception for Britton. We cannot make an exception for Chapman.

Anonymous said...

I find it odd, no make that, unfathomable that a team with all the resources (not being snarky) of the New York Yankees, are constantly looking for four pitchers who can pitch one slam dunk shut out inning at a time.

Not starters. Just four guys who can empty the tank every two or three days and get batters out consistently. For ONE inning. Why is Tampa able to do this? Do they draft that much better? Are their trades that much shrewder.

It seems like there is a fundamental difference in approach between us and them. And before we all start screaming about Hal's cheapness we need to admit that Tampa is more frugal than we could ever be. So it's a... what?

I'll tell you. It really is Cashman. Look what the Dodgers have done with the former Tampa GM. Smarts + Money = what is it like eight straight division titles and the current World Championship?

If we can't get rid of our GM can we at least steal their scouts? I propose one million dollars across the board to give their scouts a raise. That's less than the price of what we give a 15 year old from the Dominican Republic.

One Million Dollars. Bupkis. Build a better front office. Hell, make it Two Million and raid the whole league. You could probably double the salaries of the top ten guys for that.

It can't be that hard. I guess there's a "gentleman's agreement. Thou Shalt Not Raid." Still, there has to be a way.

Maybe they should find the people that identify the people that identify the people that identify the players and pay them more before other organizations know they exist.

Seriously. There's a solution. They just need to start asking the right questions.

Doug K.

Alphonso said...

I thought we signed Tom Peyer ( age undetermined ).....

JimmyEatsHotDogs said...

Corporate Baseball..... doesn't get much better than Cashman!

HoraceClarke66 said...

Oh, Doug, Doug, Doug. Poor, innocent, naive Doug.

Of COURSE Cashman can't personally evaluate baseball talent. Hey, no disgrace there. I sure as hell can't.

But if he were to bring in people who COULD...why then, they might someday become competitors for his job.

Brian Cashman has not swum with the Steinbrenners for 25 years by making improving the Yankees his first priority. He's done it by making hanging onto his job his one and only goal.

That's quite understandable. Most people want to hang on to their jobs—especially when they pay millions and come equipped with dozens of fawning sycophants, sorry, gentlemen of the press.

But that doesn't do much for the Yankees.

Anonymous said...


You sound like Winnie. :)

Doug K.

Celerino Sanchez said...

Can Scott Procter, Jeff Nelson, Mike Stanton, Ramiro Mendoza & "the Immortal" Serge Mitre be far behind?

JimmyEatsHotDogs said...

General consensus is Yankees will have a dominant bullpen this year. I see this pen imploding once again because the starting pitching other than Cole is a crap-shoot and Boone will overuse these guys because I suppose he will have no choice. If no pitchers get hurt this year that might change things but when has that ever happened?

Crystal ball sez.... Over-hyped beware of bullpen in 2021!