Yankees Hot Stove: You cannot win with a bad bullpen - Lady Loves Pinstripes Yankees Hot Stove: You cannot win with a bad bullpen - Lady Loves Pinstripes Yankees Hot Stove: You cannot win with a bad bullpen - Lady Loves Pinstripes

Yankees Hot Stove: You cannot win with a bad bullpen

Just as I predicted, the New York Yankees wild shopping spree has come to a screeching halt even with a number of holes let unfilled. 

David Robertson

David Robertson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Forget that the Yankees are missing two starting pitchers, a legit second baseman, possibly a third baseman and some viable bench guys to back up all the many veteran and injury prone players, the bullpen is in major flux.

Right now the bullpen consists of David Robertson, Preston Claiborne and Shawn Kelly.

The plan is for Robertson to take over the ninth inning, which is a huge gamble.

No doubt, over the last three seasons, Robertson has been one of the best set-up guys in the game.

But you do not earn the nickname “Houdini” for no reason, as it is typical for Robertson to load the bases, which is not ideal for a closer.

The danger comes if Robertson has a 20+ pitch save or blows a few because reality is the Yankees cannot turn to Kelly or Claiborne for help so adding a proven arm is vital.

The point is a deep and talented bullpen is invaluable to a team’s success.

A lights-out bullpen makes everything easier, as it takes the pressure off everyone. Knowing that a bullpen can limit runs scoring and cut a struggling or older starter’s outing to six innings is a huge difference maker.

If the bullpen can give a team a better chance of winning and that is the goal, why are the Yankees sitting still?

The best free agent relievers are coming off the boards now and the Yankees are not reported to be involved with any of them.

– The Tigers learned the importance of a closer so they made certain to nab Joe Nathan.

– The Baltimore Orioles have upped their offer in trying to lock in Grant Balfour.

It would be reckless for the Yankees to fill the bullpen spots with the losers from the starting rotation competition in Spring Training.

Rays closer Fernando Rodney is still out there but the Yankee brass will use his antics as an excuse to stay away.

What about Joaquin Benoit?

Rumor has it that the Padres are in heavy pursuit of Benoit to be Huston Street‘s set-up man, and gives San Diego experienced insurance.

The Yankees don’t have a proven closer, not yet, so you would think they would be heavily in on a guy like Benoit.

Proving further that the Yankees off-season plan was to spend on big names regardless of needs to soften losing the best player on the team.

Do you know if Beltran can secretly pitch or something?

It makes no sense to over pay multiple outfielders only to skip on real needs that aren’t even expensive but are essential, like a proven reliever to back up D-Rob.


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  1. Garry says:

    A number of major issues with the Yanks:

    1. Bad bullpen
    2. Only 2 decent SPs in CC and Kuroda, so very weak 3-5 SPs
    3. Some serious ARB $$$'s for Nate Robertson, Gardner, Nova, Shawn Kelley, and others…will take payroll beyond luxury tax.
    4. Very AGED OF (Wells, Ichiro, Beltran (though I like Beltran a LOT), Soriano.
    5. Health issues with Tex.
    6. Suspension issues with ARod
    7. Declining and aged Jeter
    8. Oh and NO 2B

    Great C though, and fast players in Ells and Gardner.

    Way too many wholes for my taste in a quality team. I honestly think the Yanks will miss playoffs 2 years straight in 2014.

    I'm hearing Yanks are in on Papelbon, which is a very needed move in my opinion. This entire Arod "limbo" thing has hindered the Yanks in their offseason pursuits and now time has ran out on many of the players they really needed to pickup.

    Got this major feeling that another team will "Yankeed" the Yanks yet "again" this offseason on Tanaka.

    Words out on Rotoworld that Rakuten Giants "are" posting Tanaka. Just got this feeling that Seattle is going to be the most aggressive on Tanaka, since they have so much more money to spend and are going after 2 frontline SPs.

    • Garry….you laid the pipe about the Yankees.

      Yanks were HUGE on Tanaka prior to revised posting system because posting fee wouldn't count towards payroll and had no limit so they could jack up the posting figure. Not anymore….so see if Hal Steinbrenner is a man of his word or not.

    • Tony says:

      You lost me at Nate robertson.

      Wells and Ichiro will spend more time in the nursing home than in the outfield.

  2. Tony says:

    Glad you predicted our Wild spending sped was ending.

    Looks like Brian Roberts may be our 2B for a few games. He used to kill us when he was healthy. The A-rod debacle ending will decide whether we keep on spending ( if anyone is left)

    • First of all Tony…..when was the last time Brian Roberts was healthy?

      Try…2009 minus the last month of 2013 this 37-year old is more injury prone than Eric Chavez. The Yankees are going to be the oldest team in MLB history at the rate they are going.

      And the Yankees got lucky with A-Rod timing if he gets suspended, which I hope he doesn't and if he does less then the 65-games Ryan Braun got. Braun had a failed test and lied, A-Rod has not failed a test and the leading witness, Tony Bosch is a felon so creditability is zero.

      A-rod's salary should not be the decider in whether the Yankees spend. Hal Steinbrenner promised fans a championship caliber team regardless of the $189 million "goal" and that has nothing to do with A-Rod.

      I want to believe Hal's sentiments so badly but anyone with a brain knows that the Yankees cannot contend filling the holes in the rotation and bullpen internally.

      Already let Cano walk on purposely as the Ellsbury deal proves. The Yankees are heading into 2014 older and more injury prone than last season. And Hal will get exposed once again when the injuries start racking up for all the 35+ players and there is no back-up plan.

      Tanaka is going to get posted this week and Hal has stated the Yankees interest int his player but that was before the new posting agreement fee was finalized. I wish the Yankees ownership would just be honest and stat that $$$ comes before championships.

      • Tony says:

        Try to look at the bigger picture. The Yanks looked at his medicals, know he played 77 games last year. Great signing if we get 100 games out of him. An AL East guy, a doubles machine that used to kill us.

        Now back to pitching….

  3. Tom says:

    How can you even write "Right now the bullpen consists of David Robertson, Preston Claiborne and Shawn Kelly."?

    Other pitchers that saw limited action ( Daley, Huff, Cabral, Marshal etc )will need to step up to make up for the innings lost by Logan, Joba etc.

    More low end deals will be made, and Spring training will decide a few spots like it has for a million years.

    • And you are OK with grabbing the scraps again?

      There were a bunch of solid relievers on the market and some are still left so what are the Yankees waiting for?

      Don't you think it is odd that the Yankees did not even attempt to re-sign Boone Logan?

      And why did they not go after Ellis who signed a one-year deal with Cardinals? Because Roberts was cheaper?

      The Tribe signed John Axford to a one-year deal and he would have been nice backup for D-Rob because no one knows if he can close still. D-Rob cannot throw 20+ pitches in the ninth inning, as it is inefficient and not closer-like.

      Benoit is still available and the Yankees are sitting on their hands when there are NUMEROUS HOLES to fill. Why did they need to sign Beltran when the outfield was already overloaded…to soften the Cano blow?

      It makes no sense to go spend money like the Yankees have only to do a 180 and not finish what was started. Pointless….

      • Tom says:

        1. Elsbury CF
        2. Jeter SS
        3. Beltran RF
        4. Arod/Reynolds? 3B
        5. Tex 1B
        6. Mc Cann C
        7. Soriano/ Ichiro DH
        8. Roberts 2B
        9. Gardner CF

        If we had not signed Beltran you would lament we had no HR production. This lineup is solid, yes old. More to do.

  4. Richard Griffith says:

    "The Yankees don’t have a proven closer, not yet, so you would think they would be heavily in on a guy like Benoit."

    I don't think Mo was a proven closer when he took over was it. Moreover, Wetland certainly had his moments – just like DR willn have.

  5. Jefferson says:

    People frequently note the holes in the Yankee offense, but nearly nobody points out that they need to do a better job of rebounding.