The Yankees activated Shawn Kelley from the disabled list prior to last night’s game against the Seattle Mariners. His return will bolster a bullpen that was already a major strength of the Bombers. Kelley, along with Dellin Betances and Adam Warren, form a rock solid bridge to closer David Robertson. It extremely rare for a team to have two legit set up men, let alone three at the same time. Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi has that luxury.
“These guys are interchangeable for me. I’ll look at matchups and we’ll go from there,” Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi on the bullpen hierarchy of Warren, Kelley and Betances.
The power arms at the back end of the Bomber bullpen have the makings of becoming one of the most fearsome weapons in the American League. Prior to hurting his back, Kelley had a 3.52 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 15 1/3 innings. He was also the closer for a few weeks when Robertson was on the DL, and amassed four saves. Warren sports a 2.31 ERA, with 32 strikeouts in 35 innings of work. Meanwhile, Betances has been the most dominant reliever in the majors, compiling a video game like 63 strikeouts in 37 1/3 innings. The three are all big time, hard-throwing strikeout pitchers who can dominate an inning and shorten the game for the Yankees.
The best part of the deal for the Yankees is that all three are young guns. Kelley is the old man of the group at 30. Both Warren and Betances are only 26. Even the closer Robertson, is only 29. The Yankees have control over these superb set up man for the future. Robertson may be a free agent at the end of the season, but Kelley wont be a free agent until 2016, Warren until 2019 and Betances until 2020. The Yankees’ bullpen may be set for the next several seasons at a below market rate due to the Big Three being under team control for the next few years. That will allow GM Brian Cashman to devote his cash resources to other areas, such as adding offense to a lineup that seems to be allergic to hitting with runners in scoring position. It will also lay a key foundation as the Yankees make an attempt for their 28th World Series victory.