The bullpen has always been a strength for the New York Yankees, or at least theyâ€™re competent as the starting rotation struggled. Yankee pitching has been tumultuous the past few seasons, with the bullpen having to pick up a lot of the slack due to injuries and inconsistencies among the starters.
In 2020, the relief group did have its ups and downs, with former option Adam Ottavino finishing the season with a 5.89 ERA. Subsequently, general manager Brian Cashman shipped him off to the Boston Red Sox in a salary dumb move.
As his replacement, Cashman landed former Baltimore Oriole and Atlanta Brave Darren Oâ€™Day. While Oâ€™Day has some juice left in the tank and should play a significant role in 2021, they could add another pitcher to help bolster the bullpen and ensure they are prepared for the season ahead. This will not be a 60 game campaign with revised active rosters, it is expected to be a full 162 game season with fans slowly creeping into the stands.
The Yankees have been keeping tabs on one former face, David Robertson. According to John Heyman, Robertson is on the comeback trail and pitched at the University of Alabama in front of multiple teams, including the Bombers. He touched 91 mph with his fastball and utilized his illustrious curveball.
David Robertson, on the comeback trail, threw for a vast majority of teams (Yankees included) today at the University of Alabama. Touched 91, showed the patented curve, and of course in shape.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 11, 2021
Robertson has only pitched 6.2 innings over the past two years, with his last large sample size coming with the Yankees in 2018. During that season, he recorded a 3.23 ERA and 11.76 strikeouts per nine over 69.2 innings. Heâ€™s always been a double-digit strikeout per nine pitcher, and given he hasnâ€™t played much over the past few years, he would be extremely cost-efficient.
Cashman has been risky with his approach this off-season, as he noted several weeks ago. Acquiring Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon is a risk in itself, based on the simple fact that neither haste pitched a large sample size since 2018.
With the team financially strapped this year, the Yankees are hoping for a healthier season. In recent years, they have normally expected healthy players to remain active but dealt with injuries nonetheless. Clearly, they are following an analytical route, but it has hit back at times. Letâ€™s hope they can get a bit lucky in 2021 and make a push for a World Series appearance.