Yankees Editorial: Options For Bullpen Support


The New York Yankees have made it well known that their bullpen is not something to take lightly this year. The Yank’s have had powerful assets to their bullpen in recent years, but this year it has seemed more complete than recent memory. However as they always seem to, injuries are playing part in the team’s pitching, and there are many options to look at with the bullpen. Also how the rotation is playing part in the pen’s success. With these injuries, what are some backup plans the Yankees could look to, should injuries, or lack of work be a bigger problem?

Right now Adam Warren is the team’s fifth starter in the rotation. He assumed this role with the injury of Chris Capuano before the season began, as Capuano replaced Ivan Nova until he returned from his injury. Now that Capuano has returned only to take Chase Whitley‘s spot with his elbow injury, what does the future hold for Warren and Capuano? Masahiro Tanaka has been pitching bullpen assignments, and as hoped for he is making great pace for his scheduled return. The same is being said for Nova, who has been pitching extended Spring games down in Tampa. He is closer to returning than Tanaka, but they aren’t extremely far off. The Yankees are in no hurry to rush the two back, but when they do, what will be of Chris Capuano and Adam Warren?

Warren has been a decent starter, but the ideal rotation the Yankees want does not include him (yet). That rotation is Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia, Nathan Eovaldi, and Ivan Nova. Warren was a great piece to the bullpen last year, you could say most important behind Dellin Betances. Warren has showed he could be a future starter, probably taking CC’s spot once he retires, but until then he needs to grow in the bullpen, and work on inning counts. Being a starter and only going five or six innings is a stress on the bullpen, something the Yankees don’t need. Obviously right now the Yankees have no choice, but when they do, it will be wise to let him prepare and prove himself as the seasons go by. Of course should an injury come about like this season, he is an exceptional replacement for the time being.

Nova or Tanaka returning to the rotation has an accordion effect on Warren, and with that comes changes to the bullpen. The Yankees have depth in Triple-A, and as of right now it’s tempting to call up a player or two to the bullpen. This being because a lack of output in some pitchers recently. David Carpenter and Justin Wilson have been struggling, and with their latest outings it didn’t get any better. In Friday’s game the two gave up a combined three earned runs, and only recorded two outs in the process. After Wilson was taken out of the game, Double-A Trenton Thunder call-up Jose Ramirez came in the game and gave up four earned runs in one inning. Ramirez was called up because of the Whitley injury. There were a couple options, though Ramirez wasn’t necessarily the best, the best weren’t ready.

With the struggles of Carpenter and Wilson, there could soon be another call-up to replace one of them. The next in line after Ramirez is Jacob Lindgren. Lindgren a fan favorite, and a 99.9% chance to be called up in the next month. The Yankees want to give him a little more work, but that soon might not be an option. Though Ramirez didn’t have a pretty 2015 debut Friday, it’s too early to tell what he’ll do the rest of the time he’s with the team. For Carpenter and Wilson, it’s the opposite. If they want to stay in the Majors throughout the season, their next outings will need to be up to par with what is expected of this top ranked bullpen.

One thing that’s for sure is Warren returning to the bullpen (when he does), will be valuable. Justin Wilson is more likely to stay in the pen than Carpenter is at this point. His ceiling is higher, and even though he’s been inconsistent, he’s up and coming. Once Nova and Tanaka return, fans could be looking at Warren, Capuano, Lindgren, Esmil Rogers, and Wilson as their main relief pitchers in the Yankees bullpen.

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