Before I start this article on relievers, let’s put our focus (again) on David Robertson, but this time for a different reason. As you all know, David hails from Alabama, one of the many regions in the country that’s been ravaged by tornadoes in the last month or so. If you didn’t know, David and his wife Erin have set up a charity called High Socks for Hope to benefit those effected. Take a minute and donate if you can.
News broke yesterday that “newly” signed reliever Rafael Soriano is going to miss about six weeks with an elbow issue that, luckily, doesn’t need surgery. The Yankee bullpen has been doing pretty well with out him, though, and that’s encouraging. What this gives us a chance to see now is the bullpen that we were all envisioning before the Soriano signing. Most of us, including yours truly and Brian Cashman, did not agree with or advocate for We thought the Yankees would be just fine with a set-up combination of Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson would be just fine. We were counting on more than one lefty, but Pedro Feliciano got hurt and we’re struck with Boone Logan.
Regardless, the point stands that we will now see the cheap, homegrown set-up tandem we wanted to see. Can they keep performing as well as they have? Probably, though I think we’ll (sadly) see a bit of correction from D-Rob. He’s walking a ton of guys right now and even with all the strikeouts and lack of homers, that could come back to hurt him. What’s nice is that Robertson’s xFIP is 3.01 so if a correction does come, it won’t be too killer.
What we’ll see until Soriano’s return is a bullpen mostly constructed the way we’ve seen it in the Joe Girardi era: a bunch of cheap arms working on getting the ball to Mariano Rivera. Regardless of whether or not Soriano’s there, the bullpen will be fine and, aside from the major arms (Robertson, Chamberlain, and Rivera), it will probably look a lot different at the end of the season than it does now. Soriano and Feliciano would have been obvious helpers in the bullpen, but their presences made the bullpen less flexible and a bit different from how we saw it in ’08-’10. Without them, we’re back to a bullpen construction we’re used to and it’s up to the pitchers to perform. I know they can do it.