Building Yankees bullpen is Brian Cashman’s top priority


In past years, many believed having all-star players in your lineup would predetermine a World Series Championship. But if there’s anything we learned from the 2014 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals, the key to winning is having a lethal bullpen. The starter could give you six-seven innings, the team could score runs, but if the bullpen isn’t rested or there aren’t enough arms, the game could ultimately be lost.

That’s why aside from finding a Derek Jeter replacement, Brian Cashman is looking into bolstering the bullpen and all of that starts with David Robertson. The Yankees are trying everything they can to keep Robertson from straying and are even attempting to work out a multi-year deal with his agent. However, the Yankees signing Robertson could cause them to lose their focus on Chase Headley and Brandon McCarthy.

The Yankees like Headley as a potential third basemen, but if he wants more than three-years, they might let him walk due to past back issues. The Yankees appreciated and liked what they saw from McCarthy, but they also view him as replaceable and they’re taking into account his career numbers, where he’s been an under .500 pitcher.

The bullpen has always been the Yankees strength and they were hardly at fault for the last two seasons going south and ending without a postseason appearance. If the Yankees are able to retain David Robertson, if Dellin Betances is able to continue his resurgence as the set-up man, if the Yankees are able to count on Justin Wilson, if the Yankees are able to get consistency from Adam Warren and if Shawn Kelley would leave his horse mask at home, the Yankees bullpen could once again be a strength. But if Robertson leaves, everyone moves up an inning and the bullpen doesn’t have as much depth. Their strength could turn into their Achilles heel, and the player that could alter that equation is Robertson.

Will the Yankees give Robertson the ‘Jonathan Papelbon money’ he’s searching for or will they let him walk if they feel the asking price is too much? Who knows, but the Yankees might want to consider this: Robertson will create a huge ripple effect whether he’s on the team or not.

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8 Responses to Building Yankees bullpen is Brian Cashman’s top priority

  1. Celerino says:

    If the Yankees ever want to become a team that grows through the farm system, they really should start now with the bullpen. Even if they don't bring back Robertson, they are left with plenty to build on. Betances would very likely be a dominant closer. Kelly, Warren and Wilson have been successful in set up roles. For the last three spots they have guys like Phelps, Whitley, and Claibourne, all of who have had success in the majors, plus they have prospects like Montgomery and Lungren in the wings.

    • mark says:

      They should let Robertson walk, They would get a draft pick, and go after Miller from Baltimore. With Betances closing and Miller setting him up, there would be no drop off in quality.

  2. Robert Rufa says:

    This is confusing. Yes the bullpen needs shoring up, but the biggest problem both starting and relief pitchers had was no offensive support. A lineup that can build runs and give pitchers a lead should be the top priority. The offense made the pitchers look worse than they were in many games. How many games were lost because winning runs were left on base far too often? Enough to get in the playoffs, I'm sure.

  3. Robert Rufa says:

    PS to that: If NY had won five more games that it lost because the offense didn't show up, they would have finished 89-73, that alone would have given them a wild-card spot over Oakland.

  4. thomas says:

    It shouldn't be either or but both. I believe that we have enough at AAA to fill in some holes in the pen,only, if they are able to resign Robertson. Phelps will be needed in the rotation until Nova gets back, unless you sign Capuano to start.
    Huff will be back in the pen in order to have a second lefty.

  5. Joe says:

    He had a three era, I like him but he is replaceable. I don't want them if they are on a "budget" use that money on the bullpen cus it already is a strength. They need to address the offense. The Beltran we all hoped for is not coming back, let's hope young can play like he did on the yanks and not the mets. I am def not drinking the kool aid on Headley idk what he did that was so great where he is a priority, def don't want panda or aroid there either. I think they need to convince Hanley to play short for a year or two have prado play third for the two years he's got left (we need more players like him) and let one of the kids play second.

  6. hotdog says:

    Sounds like Cashman wants to build the bullpen on a budget…i can't disagree with the philosophy but hopefully there's a few $$$ left to sign Robertson…other than that, the Yankees better hope and pray that Beltran, McCann, Ellsbury and others have a better year or the bullpen won't be needed as much…i miss those Yankees teams that were never out of it because of their firepower…i guess this has to happen every couple of decades…

  7. AEK says:

    They should just reinvest the money they would use on Robertson and build up the bullpen depth. If the mark of a championship caliber team is an elite bullpen, make everyone of your bullpen arms an elite (or elite potential) guy. Jason Grilli, Sergio Romo and Luke Hochevar are all on the market after coming off or either disappointing or injury plagued seasons. However, in 2013 (according to ERA+) they were all at least 30% above league average. Could you imagine getting three guys like that, any of whom could take over the ninth or just other high leverage situations? You would never have to over exert your top level pitching and worry about innings because practically everyone elite!

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