Yankees News: What Role Will Andrew Bailey Fulfill In 2015?


He hasn’t pitched since 2013. He has lingering shoulder issues, and unlike the elbow, modern medical science has yet to crack the code to make a pitcher what he once was after a serious shoulder injury. That is what New York Yankees’ roster hopeful Andrew Bailey will face as early as this coming week in Tampa, Florida. Bailey, a former All-Star closer and AL Rookie of the Year, is looking to crack the Yankees’ bullpen for the 2015 season. And why not? Even though Brian Cashman has almost completely rebuilt the Bombers’ ‘pen for this season, there is still some room for someone such as Bailey to make the roster. 

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What role will the former closer serve if he was to make the Yankees’ 25-man roster out of spring training? Much like other members of the projected bullpen, he can serve in numerous roles for Joe Girardi, and flexibility is always a good thing. Obviously he provides leadership. The 30-year old has been there, done that. He’s been an elite closer in the game, and can provide veteran leadership to a very young corp of relievers. Someone such as Dellin Betances can pick Bailey’s brain as he tries to replace David Robertson, who replaced Mariano Rivera.

Bailey can serve as insurance in the unlikely event that both Betances and free agent signee Andrew Miller both go down with injuries. Bailey himself is trying to prove he is completely healthy. As Brendan Kuty discussed recently in his piece about Bailey, he was attempting to comeback from his shoulder problems last summer, only to suffer set backs and ended up being shutdown for good prior to returning to the big leagues. The Yankees brought Bailey back on a minor league deal, and he will most likely start the season at Triple-A Scranton. But with a solid spring, he could snag one of the last spots in the Yankees’ bullpen.

Aside from pitching in the back end of the bullpen, Bailey is savvy enough to be a middle reliever as well. One of Bailey’s many talents, is that he can get both righties and lefties out, so a spot in the sixth or seventh innings isn’t out of the question. If Joe Girardi chose to do so, he could pair Bailey with Miller for a solid righty/lefty duo if Betances wins the closer job. If Miller is the guy, then that would most likely bump Bailey up to be a part of the middle relief corp with Adam Warren to get to Betances and eventually Miller. With the low cost of the contract, and the experience the Yankees are getting, it’s really a win-win situation for the Bronx Bombers in 2015.

Or, as Kuty suggests, the Yankees could put Bailey in a position to succeed, giving him the occasional opportunity to close as a showcase, and when or if the Yankees need an extra piece at the non-waiver trading deadline, could deal Bailey to a team in dire need of back end bullpen help. However unlikely it is that Bailey ever closes again, if he can prove that he can, he will get his dollars up, and hit free agency next winter, looking to resume his closing career.

Next: Jacob Lindgren Ready For A Strong 2015

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