Yankees’ bullpen looks strong, but someone will need to step up and help cover for Britton

Andres Chavez
New York Yankees, Chad Green
Mar 23, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Chad Green (57) throws a pitch during the third inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees were able to assemble a pretty good and deep bullpen during the offseason, even though they lost guys that used to be reliable. Jonathan Holder was non-tendered and Adam Ottavino was traded, and while Tommy Kahnle was still effective when he got hurt last year (unlike the other two), he ended up signing a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

But the Yankees didn’t panic. They waited and waited, and just when fans were starting to get desperate, they re-signed DJ LeMahieu to a six-year deal, and that unlocked the rest of the moves.

The Yankees signed Darren O’Day, a submariner whose four-seam fastball travels at 86 miles per hour, as well as left-hander Justin Wilson.

As a result, the Yankees’ bullpen is full of different looks for pitchers. Aroldis Chapman is the closer, and he is elite, spring training recent appearances notwithstanding. Chad Green can get strikeouts in tight situations, Zack Britton is ideal to get grounders in tough spots with men on base, and Wilson and Lucas Luetge, who has impressed this spring with increased spin rate in all of his pitches, can neutralize lefties.

The Yankees’ several “looks” in the bullpen

In O’Day, the Yankees have “righties-killer” that uses deception and a breaking ball to rack up the Ks and the outs. He has been one of the most trustworthy relievers in the game recently, and had a 1.10 ERA with the Atlanta Braves last year.

“Everybody is a little bit different,” Green said. “It’s been proven to work in the past. The more diverse you can be as a bullpen, I think it makes hitters feel uncomfortable. It can only help us and be to our advantage.”

Unfortunately, Britton recently underwent surgery to remove a bone chip and loose bodies from his pitching elbow, and will miss the first three months of the regular season.

“Somebody is going to get an opportunity now to pitch some important innings for us,” Britton said to MLB.com. “Hopefully they run with it. I’m hopeful that whoever steps into my role is going to do a great job and I can concentrate on getting back with the team. It’s going to be a great opportunity for somebody.”

The Yankees are good and deep enough that the most likely scenario is that somebody will, indeed, step up. Luetge and Nick Nelson look like breakout candidates, and Jonathan Loaisiga and Luis Cessa are solid in their own right.