Let’s Build A Bullpen! Yankees 2015 Bullpen Blueprint


With the Yankees almost certainly missing out on the post-season, it’s time to put our General Manager caps on and start looking at what the team’s 2015 model will look like. One of the Yankees’ strongest assets in 2014 has been their stellar bullpen, and it figures to be just as good, if not better next season. The Bombers’ biggest free agent to be is closer David Robertson, and it’s become a hot topic on whether the Yankees should re-sign him or not. This season saw the rise of perhaps the most dominate relief pitcher in baseball, and a minor league south paw who is said to be so good that he mass produces strikeouts. The Yankees took a shot on an outcast, and got a big return on their investment while other players failed to make the cut. The free agent class boasts a lot of really solid relievers, and they provide a lot of interesting options. So, if I was at the helm as the General Manager, how would I build the 2015 bullpen? What would be my blueprint?

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First off, the team needs to maintain the group that has kept them strong the whole season. That means re-signing David Robertson to a two or three-year deal for closer-type money (Around the $10 to $15 million dollar mark). Yeah it sucks, but Robertson has been one of the best closers in all of baseball, and he deserves recognition for it. He’s replaced the great Mariano Rivera as good as anyone could have, and as a

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home grown player, it’d be hard to see him go. He’d match up perfectly with his setup man and dominant presence on the mound, the rookie Dellin Betances. Betances has been lights-out all season, and he’s made his name known all around baseball. He’s definitely poised to have a big year once again in 2015. So, now that we have the 8/9 combo all set, who will be their supporting cast?

First off. we’ll insert 2014 draftee Jacob Lindgren into the bullpen right away, because his first season with the organization has been brilliant. The lefty has gone 2-1, with a 2.16 ERA, and 48 strikeouts in 25.0 innings, after being drafted in the second round by the Yankees. He’ll likely be on the team after he gets a good look at in spring training. A team normally carries two left-handed pitchers at most, so we’ll have to cut someone. We can erase David Huff and Rich Hill from the picture. The Yankees will have recently acquired left-hander Josh Outman under contract for next season as well, and he’s pitched well enough to earn a spot. If I was leading the charge, we’d be seeing those fancy stirrups he wears all through next season’s campaign.

Now we have a few more spots to fill. Shawn Kelley has been iffy at times, but he can be counted on to be a dominate force in the ‘pen more times than not, and he’s under contract for next year. He and his wipe out slider will be a big piece to the squad in 2015. The next spot is currently held by Esmil Rodgers, who has experienced a renaissance since joining the Yankees, but really can’t be considered a reliable option going forward due to his track record of… being a really, really bad pitcher. So for this, I’d dip into the free agent market, and give a nice stack of cash to one player in particular, former San Francisco Giants closer, Sergio Romo. Yeah, he’s had a down year, but since losing his job as the closer, he’s been fantastic once again, and he’d excel over here in the Bronx. The 31-year-old right-hander would likely willingly hack off his beard, and put on pinstripes were the Yankees to make the call. In my delusional fantasy land of this article, I just did and Romo is getting his number “54” fitted for pinstripes as we speak. Jason Motte of the Cardinals, Luke Gregorson of the Athletics and Francisco Rodriguez of the Brewers are all also options, but Romo is the primary target here. David Phelps, who pitched in the starting rotation this season, but is better fitted as a relief pitcher, will hold the title of long reliever and super-utility arm due to his extreme versatility.

As for the last spot, the way I see it, the Yankees have two or three options depending on how they want to go about things. They could decide to carry three lefties and bring up minor league standout Tyler Webb to join up with Lindgren and Outman. Or we could go the conventional

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route, and use a right-hander in this spot, and then it’ll come down to either Adam Warren or former American League Rookie of the Year Andrew Bailey. Warren had been fantastic through most of the early season, but the young gun has faltered significantly in recent weeks. We have to be sure what he’ll give us before we throw him into this group. Bailey, who hasn’t pitched since early 2013 due to injuries, signed with the Yankees to a one-year deal, with a team option for 2015 before the start of spring training. Unfortunately, yet unexpectedly, Bailey’s injuries will prevent him from playing in 2014, but he should be ready for 2015 if the Yankees pick up his option. With me as the General Manager, I pick up Bailey’s option, send him to the bullpen, and put Warren back in Triple-A for the time being to work out his kinks.

So here’s the bullpen we’ve… sorry I’ve built (Yeah, I made the blueprint, I’m the one who gets the credit!):

  • David Robertson- Closer
  • Dellin Betances- Setup Man
  • Sergio Romo- Middle Reliever
  • Shawn Kelley-Middle Reliever
  • Josh Outman- Lefty Specialist
  • Jacob Lindgren-Lefty Specialist
  • Andrew Bailey- Middle Reliever
  • David Phelps- Long Reliever

That’s a pretty good bullpen if I do say so myself. It’s one with very little nicks in the armor, and could go head-to-head with some of the best in baseball. That’s my bullpen. There are a lot of options to consider, and the Yankees will put everything into consideration before the start of the season. Will they listen to my blueprint and build this wonderfully magnificent bullpen of my design? Well, it’d be pretty cool and it’d help to inflate my ego, but at this point I don’t know. In baseball there are always different opinions on the subject of constructing the prefect bullpen, and there are bound to be conflicting opinions. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.