If there’s one thing we know New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is good at, it’s his ability to find relief pitching of any variety — cheap options, big-name free agents, or under-the-radar guys via trades.
Look at the acquisitions this year. Lucas Luetge (2.74 ERA) was signed early in the offseason. Wandy Peralta (2.95 ERA) was acquired via trade in April. Clay Holmes (1.61 ERA) and Joely Rodriguez (2.84 ERA) were acquired near the trade deadline.
In recent year’s past? Chad Green, Luis Cessa, Zack Britton, Tommy Kahnle and Justin Wilson were all traded for at some point.
What we’re trying to say is Cashman is more than capable of finding cheap relievers OR reinforcing the bullpen without breaking the bank on the trade/free agency market … so there’s no need for high-end spending in this department once the offseason arrives.
Why even mention this? Because the Yankees do have to address the bullpen this offseason. We won’t see Britton again. We’re not sure if Green will be as reliable in the later innings. Rodriguez may not be back. Same with Darren O’Day. What about Albert Abreu?
There’s a lot of uncertainty, but the Yankees need to spend their money wisely this offseason, and a shortstop, first baseman, center fielder and starting pitcher should take priority with the plentiful options available in free agency.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman should patch up the bullpen with trades, not FA signings.
Also, the Yankees should probably learn from their mistakes with spending excessively on back-end relievers at this point. Aroldis Chapman, for as largely good as he’s been in the regular season throughout his career, has blown it for this team countless times in the postseason. Adam Ottavino was traded to the Boston Red Sox after he fell off in 2019. Britton, another top options who’s been successful in the regular season, has dealt with injury problems and playoff struggles.
Those three combined, at one point, cost the team $38 million in 2019 and couldn’t get the job done. Even when the bullpen was this team’s supposed top strength on paper and from an investment perspective, it still wasn’t enough.
Let Cashman find his diamonds in the rough here. It’s clearly his best attribute as a general manager. And now with pitching coach Matt Blake helping turn things around with his insight and philosophy, we can count on that being another layer in the process to further advance the staff.
Save the money for impact players who will help score more runs so we don’t have to worry as much about excessive bullpen usage.