Yankees can’t repeat bullpen spending mistakes this upcoming offseason

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone, Brian Cashman
Mar 23, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman (left) and manager Aaron Boone (17) talk prior to the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are the best team in baseball. One of the key reasons why they have been so good this year has been their bullpen. Their bullpen has been sensational and they’ve assisted in locking down games for the bombers.

That being said, the highest paid relievers on the team haven’t been the key to the Yankees success in the pen. Clay Holmes and Michael King have been the two best pieces the Yanks have had and neither are even in their final arbitration year.

Meanwhile Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton, and Chad Green have all been hampered by injuries. Chad Green is out for the rest of the year with Tommy John, but before the injury, he didn’t look like the same pitcher he had been in the past.

Aroldis Chapman was horrendous in May after a strong April start. He’s been hampered with achilles issues that has hindered his ability to control the baseball. Zack Britton hasn’t thrown a pitch this year as he also recovers from Tommy John.

Yankees Can’t Overspend

Back in 2015/2016, the Kansas City Royals made people feel differently about winning in October. They had decent starting pitching, but they didn’t have anything to write home about. However, their bullpen was absolutely incredible.

Guys like Wade Davis, Kelvin Herrera, Ryan Madson, and Greg Holland helped carry the Kansas City Royals. The New York Yankees and the rest of baseball put a new emphasis on building up super bullpens.

We saw the Yankees run out bullpens featuring Chapman, David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, Zack Britton, Chad Green, and Adam Ottavino. They went all in on shortening the leash of the starting pitcher and bullpening their way to a championship.

In doing so, they spent big. They gave Ottavino $27 million over three years. The Yankees ended up trading him away to get out of the final year of that deal. They are paying Chapman, Britton, and Green a combined $46 million this year alone. 

Heading into 2023, it’s okay for them to add an arm for the bullpen, but if the last couple of years has shown us anything it’s that you shouldn’t dedicate that big of a chunk of your payroll to the pen.

The Plan Moving Forward

As mentioned above, the Yankees have guys like Holmes, Loaisiga, King, Peralta, Schmidt, and Luetge all locked up for next year. They can go out and either trade for or find some quality pieces on the cheap end to compliment the rest of their arms.

However, in no way shape or form should the Yankees dedicate more than $40 million to additional arms like they are this year. They have arms in their minors that could even fill the gap. There are too many other needs for this team.

Aaron Judge needs to be extended which is priority number one. Anthony Rizzo and Jameson Taillon on free agents after the season. There are plenty of needs for the money and bullpen is not one of them. The Yankees tried to super bullpen with big dollars and it didn’t work. They cannot afford to make that mistake again and I don’t think they will.