About the Off-Season: Welcome Back or Vamoose, Part Seven
by Tim Kabel
November 14, 2022
Let's move to the bullpen, shall we? Despite some players leaving via free agency and some injuries, this is still an area of strength on the team. I will start with the free agents.
Zack Britton was an important member of the Yankees’ bullpen for a few years. Unfortunately, he was out most of the past two seasons after requiring Tommy John surgery. He attempted to come back at the end of last season but was ineffective and suffered more injuries. He will be 35 years old in December. It was a good run while it lasted but, it is time to move on.
Verdict-Zack Britton- Vamoose
Chad Green was a valuable part of the bullpen since 2017. Unfortunately, last season, he was injured and required Tommy John surgery. He will not be able to begin pitching until late in 2023, at the earliest. He is also a free agent. I believe the Yankees should sign him to a 2-year deal on a minor league contract if they can, so he doesn't take up major league roster space until he's ready. That would give him the security to recover, knowing he will have a spot when he is healthy. The cost will certainly not be prohibitive.
Verdict-Chad Green- Welcome Back, Eventually
Miguel Castro showed flashes of talent during his one season with the Yankees. However, he was prone to wildness and inconsistency. He will be 28 years old in December and is a free agent. There are not a lot of great options on the free agent market for relief pitchers. Rafael Montero re-signed with the Astros on November 12th. However, the Yankees have a lot of other arms and multiple pitchers who can do what Castro did. Unless they make some trades to create room, there does not appear to be a spot for him next season.
Verdict- Miguel Castro- Vamoose
Aroldis Chapman accomplished one thing in his Yankees’ career. He reminded us all of how incredible Mariana Rivera really was. Chapman was unreliable, inconsistent, and unpredictable. His selfish and unprofessional act of refusing to participate in a workout before this year's ALDS was inexcusable. If there was a way of getting rid of him three times, I would do it. His uniform number should be given out to a prospect immediately in spring training. He should never be invited back for an Old Timers’ Day either.
Verdict- Aroldis Chapman- Vamoose- Permanently
Now let's take a look at relief pitchers who are currently on the roster.
Albert Abreu is someone who intrigued me but ultimately, did not prove to be anything special. For some reason, Aaron Boone became fixated on him and used him in multiple high-leverage situations last season, often to disastrous results. He was released by two different organizations last year. He should either be released or traded, because he adds nothing to the bullpen.
Verdict- Albert Abreu- Vamoose
Scott Effross required Tommy John surgery very late in the season. He has multiple years of team control left and will probably be on the 60-day IL for the entire season. He will be on the team but will not be an active member.
Verdict- Scott Effross- Welcome Back Eventually
Clay Holmes became the team's closer last year and was an All-Star. However, he faltered in the second half and was on the IL for a while. He showed signs of regaining his early season form at the end of the year and should be a valuable member of the team next year. Whether he assumes the closer role will be determined. Regardless, he will be a key piece of the bullpen
Verdict- Clay Holmes- Welcome Back
Michael King had emerged as one of the most important members of the Yankees relief corps. Unfortunately, he suffered a major injury and was out for the rest of the season. He is expected to return next year. Assuming he is able to regain his earlier form, he will once again be an integral part of the team.
Verdict- Michael King- Welcome Back
Jonathan Loaisiga was one of the best relief pitchers in the majors in 2021. Last season, he regressed at the beginning of the season but seemed to find himself again at the end of the year. If he remains effective, he can help make the bullpen dominant once again. He will definitely be an important member of the team.
Verdict- Jonathan Loaisiga- Welcome Back
Lucas Luetge always seemed to be on the cusp of being dropped from the roster. yet, he remained on the team all season. When it came time for the playoffs, he was on the ALDS roster but did not appear in a game. He was not on the ALCS roster. This is very telling. I realize he's a left-hander but, the Yankees did not include him in their post-season plans. I think his time in pinstripes may have come to an end.
Verdict- Lucas Luetge- Vamoose
Ron Marinaccio made the team in spring training. Although he was sent down a couple of times and was injured at the end of the season, he became a very effective relief pitcher. There is definitely a place for him in the bullpen in 2023. He will probably begin to take more high leverage situations.
Verdict- Ron Marinaccio- Welcome Back
Wandy Peralta evolved into one of the most important members of the Yankees’ pitching staff last season. Remember, many Yankees’ fans complained when the team acquired him in exchange for Mike Tauchman, who is no longer playing Major League Baseball. At this point, Peralta may be the only left-handed pitcher in the Yankees’ bullpen, making him even more important.
Verdict- Wandy Peralta-Welcome Back
Stephen Ridings impressed greatly during his brief appearances in 2021. He was injured throughout last season, except for a few games at the end of the year. Provided he is healthy, he throws very hard and could seize a role in the bullpen next season. He is definitely someone to watch in spring training.
Verdict- Stephen Ridings- Welcome Back
Clarke Schmidt filled a variety of roles last season. Ultimately, he pitched out of the bullpen, often pitching more than one inning. Aaron Boone seemed unsure as to how to use him. I believe if he is given a clear role in 2023, he will flourish. He could definitely become a high leverage relief pitcher, capable of pitching multiple innings, if needed. He just needs to be handled correctly by the manager, which is far from a certainty.
Verdict- Clarke Schmidt- Welcome Back
Lou Trivino was actually the most valuable player acquired from Oakland in the Frankie Montas trade last season. He became an effective pitcher with the Yankees and was very valuable down the stretch. He should be able to continue in that fashion next year.
Verdict- Lou Trivino- Welcome Back
Greg Weissert was called up late in the season and after an absolutely disastrous first outing, settled in to become an effective member of the bullpen. He was added to the playoff roster for the ALCS, although he did not actually get into a game. He was the International League pitcher of the year last season. Since he will be with the team from the beginning of spring training, his role could become more important next year.
Verdict- Greg Weissert- Welcome Back
I realize that puts nine arms in the bullpen. At this point, Domingo German is part of the starting rotation. Until and unless the team acquires another starter, there will definitely be some tinkering with the bullpen as they add and subtract or send someone to the minors. Injuries will also play a role of course.
This group gives them a solid foundation for a very effective bullpen.