Offseason discussion this year has focused on hitting and starting pitching, which is as it should be. What’s new, however, is that until the Yankees signed Chan-Ho Park virtually no attention had been paid to the bullpen. As recently as 2007 the team was so desperate for a reliable reliever that Joba Chamberlain was called up to the Majors early to stop the bleeding. This season the fanbase seems to take a solid bullpen as a given.
It’s difficult not to credit Joe Girardi for the change. While Joe Torre was notorious for picking one or two relievers and then ruining their careers, Girardi prefers precisely the opposite. As a casual fan I first began noticing that he was rotating through all his relievers in mid-2008, right before Kyle Farnsworth was traded for Pudge Rodriguez. Mid-season Michael Kay began explaining that Farnsworth and Edwar Ramirez had both gone the equivalent of 9 innings without giving up a hit, and had therefore pitched no-hitters.… Click here to read the rest