Yankees: 26-man roster projection for 2021 season

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Jonathan Loaisiga #43 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The vaunted Yankees bullpen adds a new weapon in 2021

Closer (1)

Aroldis Chapman

The ‘Cuban Missle’ signed an extension with New York this offseason. He will be closing out games in pinstripes through 2022.

Relievers (7)

Zack Britton

There are three ways Zack Britton’s contract can play out. The Yankees could exercise his club option, keeping him around through the 2022 season. Or, New York could decline the option and Britton could decide to enter free agency or he could exercise a player option and stick around until 2021.

Odds are, free agency won’t be the most lucrative option for Britton after this season (if it happens). So expect him to be around for at least one more season.

Adam Ottavino

Ottavino’s contract is set to run out after the 2021 season. Although his playoff struggles last season are well documented, he was tremendous in the regular season, posting a 1.90 ERA in 73 appearances.

Chad Green

Green has been able to fill any role manager Aaron Boone has thrown his way. With a few arbitration years remaining, Green’s career in pinstripes is far from over.

Tommy Kahnle

2021 will be the last year of Kahnle’s contract. He’ll be 32 when he enters free agency and if he continues to pitch like he did in 2019, expect him to be a hot commodity on the open market.

Jonathan Loaisiga

Although he continues to get looks as a starter, Loaisiga has the skillset to be a dominating force out of the bullpen. New York has a veteran-heavy pen and injecting a young, lively arm like Loaisiga should be on the organization’s radar.

Perhaps he can prove that he has what it take to be a starter but his stuff should keep him on the big league roster for years to come even if its out of the pen.

Ben Heller and Michael King

Projecting the backend of Major League bullpens a year in advance is like picking names out of a hat. So, here goes nothing.

In 2020 one of the last spots in the bullpen came down to Jonathan Holder and Ben Heller. Holder earned the nod this season but he doesn’t exactly have a long leash.

Although Heller has been hurt for essentially the last two seasons, he put up strong numbers in 2017. Holder was a mess last season and while there is a chance he can redeem himself, I went with Heller to spice things up.

I landed with Michael King as the long reliever. Perhaps Luis Cessa can hold down the fort at this spot for another season but King seems to make the most sense here out of the prospects in the minors.

The Yankees won’t stick high-level talents like Clarke Schmidt or Deivi Garica in mop-up duty but all reports indicate that King is at his ceiling. He could be a spot starter here or there but King doesn’t appear to factor into the big league rotation any time soon.

Take a look at my pitchers recap following my starting rotation projection to find a few more names that could be in the Yankees bullpen next season.