The New York Yankees recently inked Andrew Bailey to a minor league deal. Mariano Rivera is now retired and David Robertson is moving to the closer’s role. However, who will fill the big shoes of the eighth inning role that Robertson left?
The 28-year-old was almost automatic for the Yankees. The Rivera retirement left holes in the Yankees bullpen. Replacing him (not that anyone could ever replace Mo) is far more complicated than just finding a closer because now the Yankees are in need of an eighth inning guy as well.
They might have found their guy. Andrew Bailey can be a very effective pitcher when healthy. The only issue is he is rarely healthy. However, when he is, he is very effective. Bailey is not expected to be too much help this year as Cashman clarified Bailey would not be ready until August or later. It was believed he would be ready sometime in May, but the injury is complicated.
The Yankees will have to find someone to fill the void this year (Shawn Kelley?) but Bailey could easily be the guy to solidify the bullpen possibly at the end of this year and as long as he doesn’t see anymore problems heading into 2015, he could be a game-changer.
David Robertson is a big strikeout guy who pitched to very low ERAs. He has pitched to a career 2.76 ERA while striking out 11.7 per nine innings. In much less of a workload due to injuries, Bailey has pitched to a career 2.64 ERA striking out 9.4 per nine.
Robertson’s ability to stay healthy makes him much better than Andrew Bailey. Bailey is coming off an impressive year though. Yes, he didn’t pitch much because of injury only working through 28 innings, but in those 28 innings, he had a 12.2 SO/9 ratio.
The Yankees only inked the former Red Sox reliever to a minor league deal with incentives. It’s a low-risk move that can provide the Yankees with a lot. On top of that, if Robertson can’t hold down the ninth inning, Bailey also has closing experience.
In three years as the closer in Oakland from 2009-2011, Bailey averaged 25 saves per, while pitching to a 2.07 ERA. Worst case scenario, Bailey doesn’t pan out at all but for a minor league deal who cares? If it does work out, Cashman looks like a genius.