Bomber Bites With Jumping Joe–Yankees Once Again Assembling a Young Low Cost Bullpen


Every team needs to cut costs somewhere, even the Yankees.  The Bombers may pay millions and millions for overpriced aging talent in the rotation and on the field, but their bullpen is a different story.  A hallmark of the Yankees in recent years has been the use of young, inexpensive pitchers in their bullpen as a way to offset the overall age and payroll of the rest of the team.  With David Robertson rejecting the qualifying offer and the trade for Justin Wilson, it appears that this trend will continue into 2015.

Mandatory Credit: Chad R. MacDonald.

If Robertson had accepted the qualifying offer, he would have become the highest paid closer in the history of game.  He would be making more than Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer of all time, ever made in a single season.  Rivera made $15 million a year for the final four years of his career in a succession of single year contracts.  While Robertson did a terrific job, last season as Rivera’s replacement, he is nowhere close to Rivera’s level. 

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The Yankees may still resign Robertson to a hefty multiyear deal, but it is equally likely that he will be closing games in another uniform next season.  Assuming Robertson does not resign, Dellin Betances will move into the closer’s role and the pen will remain the youngest and most inexpensive part of the team.

The highest paid player in the pen next year, without Robertson, will also be the oldest Shawn Kelley.  The sole prospective member of next season’s bullpen over the age of 30, will likely receive a raise in arbitration from last season’s $1.765 million.  Esmil Rogers made $1.85 million last season but is unlikely to receive much of a raise next season in arbitration.

The rest of the likely candidates for the pen includes Betances, Adam Warren, Wilson, Jacob Lindgren, David Phelps, Manny Banuelos, Jose Ramirez and Preston Claiborne will all likely make less than a million apiece next season.  They area also all in their mid to late twenties and except for Wilson, all home grown.

Wilson may be the oddball in the group having been acquired this week in a trade with the Pirates for backup catcher Francisco Cervelli, but his makeup will fit in perfectly with the rest of the bullpen.  He is a hard throwing strikeout pitcher, who had 61 Ks in 60 innings last season.  He has the potential to be a big lefty in the pen who can get righties out as well in the mold of former Yankee Mike Stanton.

Bullpens have become increasingly specialized in recent years, and were major keys to both the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants World Series runs this past year.  The Yankees had a great bullpen last season, and they are poised to have another great one next season regardless if Robertson resigns.  And they will be doing it within Prince Hal’s budget.