Will There Actually Be a Spring Training Battle For The Bullpen?

The Yankees have a lot of good young relief pitchers. They also have a strong core of experienced major league relief pitchers. At the end of last season, it seemed like we were headed toward a spring training battle royale   to figure out who the Yankees would carry in the bullpen. As a minor league nut, I was excited.

It looks like the Yankees will please me and move into spring training with a lot of movable parts. The Yankee bullpen of seven right now looks like:

  • Mariano Rivera
  • Damaso Marte
  • Brian Bruney
  • Jose Veras
  • Dan Giese
  • Phil Coke
  • Edwar Ramirez

The bottom four pitchers all could conceivably be replaced with pitchers from the minor leagues. Just on the outside appear to be:

  • Marc Melancon
  • David Robertson
  • Jon Albaladejo
  • Steven Jackson
  • Humberto Sanchez

While some of these names are more implausible than others to start the season in the majors, they all certainly have a chance. Marc Melancon in particular has nothing left to learn a Triple-A, and could bump someone like Edwar Ramirez from the majors.

What does this mean? The Yankees have a clear surplus in relief pitching. They have the luxury of being able to trade a guy like Brian Bruney or Edwar Ramirez if they are confident in Melancon or Robertson or both at the beginning of spring training. They might even have a better bullpen when all is said and done after said trade.

Who would we trade for? Someone has to have a decent upgrade for Cody Ransom sitting around. We need a better bench than our farm system can currently provide. I’m willing to bet that the trade comes from the bullpen.

E.J. Fagan been blogging about Yankee baseball since 2006. He is a Ph.D. student at University of Texas at Austin.

2 thoughts on “Will There Actually Be a Spring Training Battle For The Bullpen?

  1. Moshe Mandel

    I have a feeling we will see plenty of Melancon, Robertson, and Albie this season. If I had to pick one guy who will noticeably decline, it is Veras. I just dont know that he can keep the ball over the plate consistently enough. Edwar has also topped out as a 6th-7th inning type guy, so he is replacable as well.

  2. Chris H.

    I want to see more of Robertson, in particular. Nasty stuff.

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