It is one of the most unpredictable spots on a roster each and every year. The filling out of the bullpen is difficult for the New York Yankees heading into 2014. It is even more difficult now that the team and their fans know that Mariano Rivera will not be coming out of the bullpen this season to close games. That spot is David Robertson‘s as of right now. However, there is a player that can fill both a closer and a set-up role out there the Yankees may be very interested in.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweeted last night about the Yankees having internal discussions centered around former Tigers’ reliever Joaquin Benoit. The price for Benoit could drive up as Benoit could even ask for a three year deal if the market gets strong enough for his services.
That being said, this is the perfect reliever for the New York Yankees. Yes, he will be 37 years old in July, which is up there in baseball years. Also, his closer experience is limited considering he only has 37 career saves and 24 of those came last season.
However, he is coming off of a season last year where his ERA was 2.01 and had 9.81 K/9. One aspect to like about Benoit is his postseason experience.
Most fans will remember the negative about Benoit such as giving up the grand slam to David Ortiz in Game #2 of last year’s ALCS. You forget at times that Benoit has been a consistent performer in that role. You can look back to 2011 when he was able to get key outs from Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher in the 7th inning of Game 5 of that ALDS series.
Benoit has pitched in 20 postseason games over his career, which would be a great asset to a bullpen that could see a lot of young pieces in it. Manager Joe Girardi said yesterday that the only givens in the bullpen for next year are Preston Claiborne and Shawn Kelley. There have been talks between the team and Boone Logan to bring him back as the lefty specialist.
The asking price, though, could be the one thing that hinders the Yankees. Everyone knows about the $189 million the Yankees don’t want to go over in payroll. They are near that right now. Brian Cashman has talked about using a 2011 strategy by filling out the roster with low-end cost players. Does Benoit fit into the Yankees’ plans?
According to Chris Cotillo from SB Nation, a source has told him that there could be an offer for Benoit of 2-years and $14 million. Is that out of the Yankees’ price range? We will see, but with holes in the bullpen, New York should look for players that can fill multiple roles. Benoit just might be one of them that can fill in for David Robertson or be a reliable bridge in the 8th inning for D-Rob.