Do you like bullpen targets, Yankees fans? What about extremely cheap ones?
Yes, I’m talking to you, Hal Steinbrenner. I’ve got the solution you’re looking for. Three foolproof ways to ensure the sixth and seventh inning always feels as relaxing as a pregame warmup, all for the low, low price of way under $10 million.
In fact, you can have all three of these guys and still keep your wiggle room. You won’t, and shouldn’t, do that, but you could!
As it stands, the Yankees have a sterling back four in the ‘pen in Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton, Chad Green and Darren O’ Day (whose deal still hasn’t been announced). The middle of the ‘pen, though, is packed with high-upside arms that Yankees fans don’t still entirely trust yet (Jonathan Loaisiga, Nick Nelson and Co.) as well as well-established middle-of-the-road dudes like Luis Cessa, who’s probably better than you think but still isn’t the King of High Leverage.
If you could inject another dependable veteran into that meaty middle, wouldn’t you?
These three trustworthy arms are coming off either injury or snooze-worthy seasons — or simply ended up in the relief market at the wrong time, trying to get paid mid-pandemic like the rest of us in Joe Biden’s America.
If Brian Cashman’s still searching for a bullpen piece (and it seems like he is), why not go super cheap with these vets?
3. Tony Watson
The Yankees could use a lefty for the middle innings, too.
Remember lefties who weren’t closers? Boone Logan? Chasen Shreve?
Presuming lefty relievers aren’t rendered irrelevant forever by the three-batter minimum, Tony Watson could be a nice one to have. After all, it wasn’t terribly long ago that he was viewed as an elite trade target.
Watson signed a three-year deal in San Francisco (for whatever reason) following the 2017 season, which he split between Pittsburgh and Los Angeles. Though his fastball velocity has eroded a bit, he ultimately posted one exceptional year by the Bay (72 Ks in 66 innings in ’18), one middling campaign (4.81 FIP and 4.17 ERA in 2019), and one mixed bag (2.50 ERA ticketed for regression last year).
He’s trending in the wrong direction, but he’d be a perfect fit on a last-minute short-term deal that would shore up the middle innings and allow the Yankees to play matchups.
If someone as valuable as O’Day in 2020 went for just under $2.5 million, then surely someone at a younger age but with a less-impressive trajectory like Watson could be available for $1 million or even slightly less.