The New York Yankees‘ relief corps aren’t what they used to be. The 2018 and 2019 teams fielded “super bullpens”, filled with quality arms that gave manager Aaron Boone several weapons at the time of navigating through the last innings of a ballgame. Dellin Betances was around, Tommy Kahnle was healthy and effective, Adam Ottavino was lights-out, and arms like Jonathan Holder and Luis Cessa were decent. Zack Britton, Chad Green, and Aroldis Chapman were always reliable.
Now, only the last three names offer some semblance of reliability these days. Boone had to abuse their arms in this year’s postseason run, and it showed. They were outlasted by a deeper Rays team that had quietly assembled a fantastic bullpen.
These days, Betances is with another organization, Holder was non-tendered, Ottavino can’t be relied upon, and Kahnle is an injured free agent. Cessa is still around, but not quite on Britton, Chapman, and Green’s level.
The Yankees should consider these signings
It’s clear that the New York Yankees could use a few bullpen reinforcements. These five free agents might make sense:
- Archie Bradley: The right-hander flamethrower could bring reliability and power to the bullpen. He has closing and high-leverage experience and is coming off a 2.95 ERA (2.59 FIP) in 18.1 innings with the Cincinnati Reds.
- Brad Hand: Arguably the reliever that could make the most sense for the Yankees besides Bradley. Hand is still in his prime, at 30, and a proven star. He’s a lefty with a career 2.96 ERA in 386.2 frames as a reliever, with a phenomenal 11.38 K/9.
- Blake Treinen: He had one of the most dominant relief seasons in history with the Oakland A’s in 2018, with a 0.78 ERA, a 1.82 FIP, and 11.20 K/9 in 80.1 innings. A bad 2019 landed him in the Dodgers this season, where he was respectable (3.86 ERA, 3.15 FIP) in 25.2 frames.
- Andrew Chafin: He’s not a flashy name, but he’s a lefty that can get batters from both hands out. He’s a low-cost target who could pay big dividends and bring stability to a unit that badly needs it. Oh, and he misses bats, too: he has a 9.54 K/9 in his career.
- Ryne Stanek: The 29-year old had a bad 2020 (7.20 ERA, 7.29 FIP) but was excellent in 2018 (2.98 ERA, 10.99 K/9 in 66.1 innings) and good in 2019 (3.97 ERA, 10.40 K/9 in 77.0 innings.) He is a nice project that shouldn’t cost the Yankees too much money.