The New York Yankees have upgraded themselves up the middle, where every successful team is strong. They’ve added catcher Brian McCann and centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. You can have all the big bats you want, but you need the arms to keep the lead when those bats score the runs. Billy chronicled some of the starting pitching options the Yankees can target, especially if Masahiro Tanaka isn’t posted. Here, let’s take a look at some of the relievers the Yankees could get in the free agent market.
Ryan Webb: Webb was non-tendered by the Marlins in a bit of a surprising move. After a so-so 2012, 2013 saw Webb improve. In the second half, Webb had a 2.65 ERA and only walked six batters in 37.1 innings. The thing I really like about Webb is his groundball rate is 56.8%. In a smaller park like Yankee Stadium, you need to keep the ball on the ground, and with Brendan Ryan possibly playing quite a bit a shortstop this year, Webb could even be more effective.
Eric O’Flaherty: The Yankees can’t go into next year with just Cesar Cabral as the lefty out of the bullpen. Joe Girardi loves matchups and giving him another lefty is important. With Wesley Wright off the board, O’Flaherty and former Yankee Boone Logan may be the best on the market. O’Flaherty had two dominant seasons for the Braves in 2011 and 2012, but was injured in 2013. He could be a nice buy-low option if Logan leaves.
Andrew Bailey: Is he hurt a lot? Yes. Is there going to be competition for him? You bet. If the Yankees are going to go with David Robertson as closer, they are going to need an option to either set up, or in case he falters, close games. Enter Bailey. Bailey has only pitched in 49 games the past two seasons due to various ailments. When healthy, he averages about a strikeout per inning.
Bullpens are fickle. One year they are dominant, the next year they are injured. Buying low on free agents can sometimes be the trick. Any of the three mentioned above can help the Yankees in 2014.