2012 Yankees bullpen preview

1 Jan

It’s still early to talk about what will or will not happen in definite terms, but the Yankees 2012 bullpen looks to be solidified. The bullpen may actually be the best thing the team has going for them given the health issues of aging stars, the tendency of some high priced talent that checks out in the postseason and a questionable starting rotation. The bullpen is a strength, and it may very well be strong enough to deal from to help fill some holes on the reat of the roster.

Mariano Rivera is Mariano Rivera. So long as he is healthy and shows no lingering ill effects from his throat surgery this offseason he can be penciled in for about the same numbers as last year. He isn’t the dominant force he was several years ago, but he is still one of the three best closers around. No manager wants to see Mo come into a game – aside from Girardi. In what may very well be his final season, Mo will get it done one way or another.

Rafael Soriano is a question mark, He’s getting tons of money ($10m/yr) and hasn’t done a damn thing yet. NY grossly overpaid for him for the setup role, and Soriano made no effort to adjust to that role. He spent most of the year injured,, or saying he was injured, and when he did play he underwhelmed. If someone gets terribly hard up for a closer, they may be able to deal him, but likely at the expense of eating a decent chunk of that salary.

David Robertson is bright spot. He is scary as hell to watch because every inning is a nail biting, tightrope walking, edge of the seat experience. he gets into a lot jams. Luckily he also gets out of them. The question is whether he can do it again this year or whether he will take his game up a notch and get more pitch efficient. Soriano will get the setup job, but Robertson earned it. Robertson may even be the closer of the future if he improves his ability to retire batters a tad bit more regularly.

Joba Chamberlain… Who knows? Joba should be healed and ready to go bu mid-May one would think – being conservative. What kind of shape his arm will really be in is a big question. What role does he play? The 7-9 innings are locked down. Is he a glorified mop-up man and spot starter? No one wants to see that. Still, they need to find something for him to do. If nothing else, it may be worthwhile to let him close out a few games and get some high-end work in so they can get his trade value back up.

Pedro Feliciano is another player coming back off the scrap heap of injuries. Because of Feliciano, you have to wonder where Joba fits in, Actually, that goes both ways. One of the two is expendable, and popular as Joba is, Feliciano makes more sense to hold on to. Nobody knows where Feliciano’s stuff is going to be this year, but if he is even just 85% of what he was pre-injury he’s a valuable piece to have around.

Boone Logan will be the primary lefty specialist again. he won’t eat up innings but he will chew up the couple hitters he does face. Logan was one of the most unnoticed players on the roster and was sorely under-appreciated by many fans. he fails now and then, but so does the great Rivera. Logan gets his job done on a consistent basis. That’s all that matters.

Hideki okajima may make an appearance in the pen at some point. As a bargain basement signing, he makes sense. He has had success in the East and he is a lefty that is currently breathing so he has value. I would be surprised to see him prior to June, or after August, but he may provide some solid short term value. it doesn’t hurt to have him around.

With guys like Noesi, Betances and Whelan hanging around looking for work, NY is in good shape. Even George Kontos and Cory Wade may get  little time. There are only so many slots and given the wreckage that is the starting rotation which is a huge question mark after CC, the pen is going to work a lot this year. Overall, the Yankees bullpen is a B+ right now based on Rivera and a load of strong interchangeable parts. There is solid depth from within and they will not have major meltdown moments over an injury or two. Maybe not the best pen in the game, but one of the top three or four.


One Response to “2012 Yankees bullpen preview”


  1. 2012 Yankees starting pitching preview « Views From The Bullpen - January 3, 2012

    […] Spot starters may account for another 5, but that still means that they need about 35 wins from the bullpen to get the job done. Overall, the Yankees rotation is a C+ as it stands. With a ittle luck, they may […]

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