Yankees News: More relief support could be on the way

New York Yankees, David Robertson

Spring training might be starting in two days, but the New York Yankees are still looking for players to add to the roster. Eventually, the Yankees will have to cut down after gauging position battles, but adding players on minor-league deals can only benefit the team as a whole. With injuries being so prevalent the past few seasons, having reinforcements is as important as ever.

General manager Brian Cashman has been considering many different options, but one pitcher the Yankees have been keeping tabs on is David Robertson. Having spent time on two different occasions for the Yankees, Robertson is familiar with the expectations that come with wearing pinstripes. He last featured on the team in 2018, when he pitched 69.2 innings and recorded a 3.23 ERA. He has only pitched 6.2 innings over the last two years, so the Yankees would be getting a cost-efficient player with some upside.

According to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, David Robertson could be a good fit for the Yankees as a bullpen option:

As expected, the Yankees were among the teams who scouted Robertson’s showcase at the University of Alabama this week, where he was said to have touched 91 mph. A return to the Yanks would be a fitting bookend for Robertson, who turns 36 in April and has already served two tours with the club.

A non-roster invitation and incentive-laden contract seem appropriate if that’s something Robertson would consider. Given the Yankees’ apparent intent to remain under the $210 million luxury tax threshold and with more items still potentially on the shopping list, a guaranteed deal may not be available.

At 35 years old, Robertson is running out of juice, but given how cheap he will likely be, the Yankees should consider him. He recently pitched in a bullpen session at the University of Alabama, in which plenty of teams were in attendance, including the Bombers. If he can return to his previous form, he could be a solid depth player. He’s always hovered in the 11 strikeouts per nine area, indicating a high strikeout ratio coupled with a career-average 43.5% ground ball rate.

With the bullpen a bit thin and unproven, bringing back an established player with a good history is never a bad move.

New York Yankees: Who will the Yankees fifth starter be, much more, all the news in one place

New York Yankees, Deivi Garcia

Who will the Yankees fifth starter be?

The New York Yankees have pretty well solidified their pitching rotation this season after losing Masahiro Tanaka, who is already pitching in Japan now, James Paxton that remains unsigned, and J.A. Happ, who is now a Minnesota Twin. During the offseason, the Yankees hired two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber and traded for the Pittsburgh Pirates starter, Jameson Taillon. They also made a significant signing for the bullpen in Darren O’Day, one of last season’s best relief pitchers.

The starting rotation is almost set with those moves, with ace Gerrit Cole leading off on April 1. Following him will be Corey Kluber, Jameson Taillon, and Jordan Montgomery. The question remains, who will anchor that rotation? The obvious answer is Deivi Garcia, who made his Major League debut last season. But with Domingo German, Jonathan Loaisiga, Clarke Schmidt, and Michael King in the wings, that question remains unanswered. It will probably depend on who pitches the best in spring training. If one of the aforementioned pitches particularly well, Montgomery’s fourth in the rotation could also be in jeopardy.

The question about Brett Gardner

Spring training is just a week away, and the New York Yankees have yet to sign long time veteran Brett Gardner to a new contract. According to who you want to believe, the Yankees have not been in contact with Gardner or his agent since they paid him $2.5 million to opt-out of his contract to play for the 2021 season, or that they have been in constant contact with him. Either way, Gardner is still a free agent.

If you recall, the Yankees waited until the last moment to sign Gardner to a new contract last year. This year may be a bit different because with Gardner still hanging out there, according to Jon Heyman, several teams are interested in the veteran. Gardner was the only Yankee holdover from the 2009 team when the Yankees won their last World Series. Gardner has often said that he wants to end his career as a lifelong Yankee, but that remains to be seen. He has said recently that he would play again in 2021, even if it’s not with the Yankees.

Yankee Roberson reunion in the works?

The New York Yankees were one of the teams that watched David Robertson’s pitching demonstration at the University of Alabama this week. Robertson wanted to show that he is back from his Tommy John surgery. “D-Rob” has pitched well for the Yankees in two separate stints with the team. The New York Yankees have had a love affair with David Robertson on a couple of occasions, and that flame may still be burning.

After a very successful seven-year career with the Yankees, the New York Yankees came calling again in 2017 at the trade deadline.  David pitched in 30 games for the Yankees and was absolutely brilliant. He went 5-0 with an ERA unheard of, just 1.03. The Yankees think they have the best chance in years to get to a World Series this season. Will they again decide if they need Robertson to get there. Only time will tell, but there is no news that they had engaged with him or his agent, but it’s obvious they are at least considering a reunion with attending this pitching demonstration.

Jasson Dominguez to make his pro debut?

Yankee fans for the last two years have heard all the hype about the now 18-year-old Jasson Dominquez. The hulking ahead of his time player probably won’t make his much-awaited Major League debut until 2022 at the earliest. Many scouts believe it will not be until the 2024 season. This writer believes with his continued progress and talent it will be much sooner than that.

Dominquez’s talent far exceeds his age. He has only played in the Dominican Republic so far, but I believe he will make his professional debut this season, probably with the Yankees high A team in Tampa. If he succeeds there, he could find his way to the Somerset Patriots. That would lead to a possible appearance at Yankee Stadium in 2022.

Miguel Andujar has hired a new agent

Miguel Andujar is still with the New York Yankees, kind of. The Yankees like controlling their assets, but the fact remains that the Yankees have no place for the young man to play. He lost his title as the Yankee’s third baseman to Gio Urshela in 2019 after he suffered an arm injury, and the Yankees found out that Urshela turned out to be the better third baseman.

During 2020 Urshela basically hung around between the Yankee’s alternate site and Yankee Stadium but did not play a key role in the 2020 season. Andujar, 26 in March, authored a .297/.328/.527 batting line with an American League rookie record-tying 47 doubles in 2018, but a shoulder injury limited him to 12 games in 2019 and allowed Urshela to swoop in and take the third base job. Last year Andujar went back and forth between MLB and the alternate site, and his agent was none too pleased. He made several angry Tweets, but apparently, Andujar was not pleased.

Miguel Andujar has hired a new old agent. Jon Heyman and MLB insider at MLB.com has reported that Andujar has rehired Marquez of the MAS+ agency. Andujar wants to play ball somewhere, but the Yankees have control over the talent until 2024. He is oft mentioned as a trading piece, but the Yankees have been reluctant to let the young man go. Where and how he will play in 2021 is anyone’s guess.

 

David Robertson makes too much sense for the Yankees

New York Yankees, David Robertson

The New York Yankees are still looking at cheap bullpen options to complete their roster for the 2021 season. During the offseason, they lost Tommy Kahnle, Adam Ottavino, and Jonathan Holder, and have only added Darren O’Day so far. Yes, they have some talented arms looking for an opportunity to establish themselves as relievers, but they could also use one more veteran, reliable name.

The Yankees, however, only have about $10 million to spend before hitting the luxury tax threshold, one that they have been avoiding like the plague during the offseason. It’s clear that they won’t surpass those $210 million in payroll, so any reliever that comes in the next few days or weeks would be cheap.

Robertson has spent the majority of his career with the New York Yankees. He had Tommy John surgery in August of 2019 and didn’t pitch at all in 2020 because he experienced a setback last summer.

Right now, though, he healthy and he proved just that on Thursday, after he threw in front of scouts of several teams, including the Yankees.

D-Rob looked good with the Yankees in attendance

The workout was at the University of Alabama. According to MLB.com’s Jon Heyman, Robertson touched 91 mph with is four-seam fastball and showed his patented curveball.

NBC Edge speculates that Robertson is looking at an incentive-laden deal, but if he’s something remotely close to what he was pre-injury, he could be a fixture in any big league bullpen, and that includes the Yankees.

When he is healthy, Robertson sits in the low-90s, usually in the 93 mph range. That means he is currently not too far removed from his best velocity, and with spring training getting closer every day, he has the potential to improve in the radar gun.

The Yankees would be smart to pounce on a one-year, incentive laden contract, or one with an option for the 2022 season.

New York Yankees: David Roberston showcase, Luis Gil, and more

Yankees still interested in David Robertson

The New York Yankees have had a love affair with David Robertson on a couple of occasions, and that flame may still be burning. The New York Yankee scouts were in attendance at the University of Alabama when Robertson put on a pitching show for several teams, including the Yankees. John Heyman, an insider for MLB Network and regularly contributes to WFAN, and Entercom Radio had this to say about the showcase on his Twitter account:

Former All-Star setup man David Robertson looked good while throwing a showcase yesterday at the University of Alabama, and unsurprisingly, the Yankees were one of many teams in attendance. Any potential contract he’d sign would be low-stakes because he’s in his mid-thirties and hasn’t pitched since April 14, 2019, due to an injured UCL that required Tommy John surgery. The Yankees reacquired the curveball specialist once before joining the memorable 2017 club at the trade deadline after walking away as a free agent in 2014; could another reunion be on the horizon?

Robertson started his career with the New York Yankees in 2008, and for the next seven years, compiled a 33-22 record with an ERA of 2.75. Most of that time, he was the setup man for Mariano Rivera. When Rivera retired, Robertson became the Yankees closer in 2014. He was 4–5 and compiled a 3.08 ERA, was successful on 39 (3rd in the AL) out of 44 save attempts, and struck out 96 batters in ​64 13 innings, averaging 13.4 strikeouts per nine innings. Following that season, he became a free agent after the Yankees declined his $15.3 million option—Robertson went to the White Sox.

The New York Yankees came calling as it looked like they would reach the 2017 postseason. From the trade deadline, David pitched in 30 games for the Yankees and was absolutely brilliant. He went 5-0 with an ERA unheard of, just 1.03. The Yankees think they have the best chance in years to get to a World Series this season. Will they again decide if they need Robertson to get there. Only time will tell, but there is no news that they had engaged with him or his agent, but it’s obvious they are at least considering a reunion with attending this pitching demonstration.

Will Luis Gil be a stud for the Yankees?

Luis Gil has been a New York Yankee prospect since 2015. Although he has never gotten as far as Triple-A Scranton, he has continually advanced in the Yankee minor league system. The 22-year-old Dominican is ready to grow into the majors in the next few years.

A Major League scout who sees many of the Yankees’ farm teams distinctly remembers his trip to South Carolina in 2019. He was there for a few days to check in on the Charleston RiverDogs, then the Yanks’ Low-A South Atlantic League affiliate. The scout thinks Gil is a pitcher to watch. He watched Gil start a game during his trip.

The scout who did not wish to be named said the pitches are there – he throws smoke touching 100 mph, his curve is a good one, and he has the makings of a decent changeup – but I don’t know if he’s going to be able to command his stuff for five or six innings once every five days. I see him as a reliever, setup man, or even a closer. He reiterated that he really likes Gil a lot.

Gil, who turns 23 on June 3, probably will begin 2021 with the Double-A Somerset Patriots, the team that is replacing the Trenton Thunder, but pitching his way to Triple-A or even at Yankee Stadium before the season ends isn’t farfetched. Gil’s career took off after he joined the Yankees’ organization. That’s when his fastball average jumped from the mid-90s to the high-90s, which led to impressive numbers. In 2018, he pitched to a 1.96 ERA with 68 strikeouts over 46 innings in 12 starts for rookie-level Pulaski and short-season A Staten Island.

He posted a 2.39 ERA the next year with 112 Ks in 83 innings over 20 starts, the first 17 with Charleston and then three with high-A Tampa. There was no 2020 minor league season, but Gil did pitch in the Dominican Republic’s winter games.

Other teams interested in Brett Gardner

Outfielder Brett Gardner still feels great and will not retire in 2021. According to reports, the New York Yankees have not engaged with the 12-year veteran or his agent. But the ever-popular Yankee has made it clear he wants to play somewhere this season.

Gardner’s last formal contact with the Yankees was when they refused his 2021 $10 million option and paid him $2.5 million to get out of that option for the 2021 season. The Yankees may still negotiate with him; if you recall, they waited until the last minute last season to sign him up for 2020. Gardner has always said he wants to retire a Yankee, but that is up to the Yankee front office.

He is just one season removed from the 2019 campaign when he blasted a career-best 28 home runs and 74 RBI while stealing double-digit bases for the seventh straight season. His versatility has stood out throughout his career as someone who can hit for decent power, play solid outfield defense and be a menace to opposing pitching staffs when he is on the basepaths. His durability has also been important for the Yankees, as he played at least 140 games every year from 2013 to 2019.

Gardner was an All-Star in 2015 and Gold Glover in 2016. He also helped lead the Yankees to a World Series title in 2009, although he hit just .154 in those playoffs. Randy Miller of NJ.com has verified that the Yankees have not engaged with him and that other teams are interested in the veteran’s services.

Former Yankees’ star reliever will hold a showcase next week

The New York Yankees still have some funds available to sign a cheap reliever, and they do have the need to do so since their bullpen has lots of question marks after Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton, Chad Green, and Darren O’Day.

However, reports indicate that they could also be looking to re-sign outfielder Brett Gardner after letting him go in the winter by declining his club option. That may complicate the enterprise of getting another reliever.

One name that could potentially come on the cheap is David Robertson. Injuries have derailed their 2019 and 2020 seasons: he had Tommy John surgery in August of 2019 and didn’t pitch at all in 2020 after having a setback last summer.

However, when healthy, Robertson is a difference-maker in any bullpen due to his incredible ability to miss bats. Over his long career (most of which came with the New York Yankees) the right-hander has a fantastic 32.2 K%, and he has struck out 11.93 hitters per nine frames.

Mark Feinsand of MLB.com is reporting that David Robertson (elbow) will hold a showcase for interested clubs next week, specifically on February 11.

The Yankees would be wise to pay attention

Apparently, Robertson is over the setback that he encountered last year, and is eager to show teams that he can still contribute in a major league bullpen.

Granted, the Yankees would be getting an risk given that he is already 35. But if the price is right, he can make sense for them.

He has had, to this point, a remarkable career: in 663.2 frames, he has accumulated 14.3 fWAR, a 2.90 ERA and a 2.84 FIP.

If he shows that he still has some juice left in his right arm, the New York Yankees would be wise to approach him with an offer that could theoretically fit in their remaining budget for the 2021 season.

Could the New York Yankees reunite with David Robertson?

After an extremely slow start to the offseason, the New York Yankees have been moving over the past couple of weeks. They resigned DJ LeMahieu, they signed Corey Kluber, and then they traded for Jameson Taillon. 

While they’ve been conservative, fans have to be happy that the Yankees are actually making moves. After they signed Kluber, I was told that the focus for the Yankees would remain upgrading the pitching.

They were looking at another starter and the relievers that were available. I reported that they had made contact with reliever Trevor Rosenthal. As of yesterday, I was told that the Yankees still have interest in bringing in Rosenthal depending on the deal.

In the past couple of days, we’ve seen rampant rumors surrounding the Yankees desire to bring back Brett Gardner. I was told they are talking a one year deal likely in the four or five million range. I completely detest this potential move, but I’m not running the team so I digress.

The Yankees dealt Adam Ottavino to the Red Sox to free up some cash. With the extra money, it appears that Gardner will be the next move for the bombers instead of a reliever. My understanding is that they will likely work out a deal for Gardner then figure out where to go in terms of relievers based on what money is left.

I’m personally hoping it’s the other way around. I’d love to see the Yankees sign a reliever then give Gardner whatever is left with an offer of take it or leave it. However, I’m not too optimistic about that.

Familiar face back with the Yankees?

Depending on how talks go with Gardner, the Yankees have some cheaper options out there on the reliever market. We’ve already seen them bring back Adam Warren this offseason on a minor league deal.

However, there’s another familiar face they could take a flyer on. That pitcher is former closer, David Robertson. Robertson is coming off Tommy John surgery and he’s planning on doing a pitching showcase in February. 

Robertson only appeared in seven games for the Phillies before needing TJ surgery. He pitched to a 5.40 ERA in those seven games. 2018 was his last full season and it came with the Yankees where he pitched to a 3.23 ERA in 69 games.

Robertson might be a guy the Yankees can get on the cheap end given his recent injuries. A David Robertson reunion will ultimately come down to Brian Cashman’s priorities. If Cashman is set on overpaying a little to bring Gardner back, a cheap reliever is likely in the cards.

However, if Cashman prioritizes getting another top bullpen arm before Gardner, then Robertson is less likely. We should know more soon, but the Yankees will likely attend the showcase if they haven’t secured another reliever by then. Definitely a situation to watch.

New York Yankees Analysis: The Yankees need a stronger consistent Bullpen in 2021

Other than inconsistent hitting from the lineup, the New York Yankees deficiency that caused them another early exit from the postseason in 2020 was lousy pitching. The Yankees haven’t had really good starting pitching quite a while. Yes, they went out and got the best pitcher available in 2019, but that’s really all they had. The rest of the pitchers were bluntly tired veterans that couldn’t go deep into games. That put added stress onto a bullpen that was also deficient.

The simple fact is that the Yankees must improve their overall pitching if they have any hope of a postseason play or even winning the division that was taken away from them this last season by the Tampa Bay Rays, who had excellent pitching. The Yankees have got to realize just how vital the bullpen is in this era of pitchers generally not going deep into the game. You rarely hear of a complete game anymore.  And the Yankee starters were worse than most. Only Gerrit Cole and Deivi Garcia went more than 5 1/2 innings. And Cole only went 6.08 innings.

Being super critical, the 2020 New York Yankee bullpen flopped. With the loss of Tommy Kahnle to Tommy John surgery, the one loss seemed to break the back of the bullpen. Even in the short season, the bullpen was overworked. Besides the loss of Kahnle, they might have well lost Adam Ottavino because he was terrible. Cessa was Cessa; he didn’t lose a game and even got a save. Loaisiga didn’t lose a game either and even improved his ERA by a full point. Being overly harsh, Chapman sucked again, losing the final game of the postseason for the second year in a row.

The only real bright spot in the bullpen was Zack Britton; he was brilliant, saving eight games in Chapman’s absence after testing positive for the coronavirus. Kahnle has signed with the Dodgers, and Jonathan Holder has signed with the Cubs. With a very doubtful rebound of Adam Ottavino the bullpen has been most gutted. The Yankees need two dependable and consistent arms to be added.

There are 80 availble relief pitchers on the free agent market with out considering those available via the trade route. The New York Yankees certainly are able to find two to help them out. They have two methods of filling the void, one a closely path and the other going on the cheap to fill holes. The top names are obvious, Hendriks, Hand, Yates, Bradley, Osuna, Colome, and others. But there are also some good arms that won’t cost the Yankees an arm and a leg.

Aaron Loup:

The addition of Aaron Loup would give the Yankees a lefty reliever that they have been missing for years. It would provide an entirely different look the the mid-innings bullpen. With Blake Snell and Charlie Morton out of the Tampa Bay picture, why not capitalize by snatching Loup from re-signing with the Rays.

Loup, after a regressive tenure in Toronto, found his best stuff with the Rays in ’20, posting a 2.52 ERA in 25 innings. He’s yet to allow a postseason run in five appearances. He also wouldn’t break the Yankees bank either. Loup could cost the Yankees less than a million dollars on a one year contract.

Andrew Chaffin:

Staying with Lefty relievers, Andrew Chaffin could be an interesting addition to the Yankees bullpen. Chaffin is equally as good at getting right-hand and left-hand hitters out. In four games with the Chicago Cubs last season he gave up just one run for an ERA of 3.00. He also struck out more than 9 hitters over nine innings. He also would be a low cost addition to the bullpen although more expensive than Loup. He would likely cost the Yankees somewhere around $2 million.

Ryne Stanek:

The Yankees could do worse than signing Ryne Stanek. He had a horrible 2020 season, so he might be able to be gotten on a steal. Stanek began his career with the Rays, who chose him 29th overall in the 2013 draft, and had his best seasons with the club. He was a regular opener with the Rays from 2018-19, during which he pitched to a 3.17 ERA/3.64 FIP and averaged better than 10 strikeouts per nine innings. He is the only righty on this list.

Reunions:

There are several free agent relief pitchers out there that a very familiar with as they have pitched for the New York Yankees before. The most notiable one is David Robertson. Robertson is the not the reliever he once was but is very serviceable and we know he can pitch under the bright lights of Yankee Stadium. Others include Chasen Shreve, Tyler Clippard (3 stints), Mark Melancon, Ian Kennedy, David Phelps, Nick Tropeano, and Luis Avilán. As I have said in a previous article, I am not against giving David Robertson another go at the Stadium.

The best thing for the Yankees to do in this writers humble opinion is get a big name like Hendriks or Hand to replace Kahnle and a lefty like Aaron Loup to add a dynamic mix to the right hand heavy Yankee bullpen. But it appears that the Yankees will be waiting to make any significant moves until the see if they can resign DJ LeMahieu. Hopefull all the good arm relievers won’t be gone by then.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam. Photo accompanying the article is of Aaron Loup.

 

 

New York Yankees: Who would be the best reliever pickup for the Yankees? You choose

With the New York Yankees centered on re-signing DJ LeMahieu, it will probably leave little money to sign a true number two starting pitcher. That will put more strain and stress on the Yankee bullpen. With each passing year, the bullpen of all teams takes on more significance, with starters not going as deep into the game as the one did. And for the Yankees, it will be even more important this season with a starting rotation that will lack experience following ace Gerrit Cole.

Today I will examine my picks for the New York Yankees’ best options to replace the important Tommy Kahnle, who has had Tommy John surgery and is now a free agent unable to pitch in the 2021 baseball season. Any replacement for Kahnle takes on even more significance because of the unknowability of Adam Ottavino bouncing back from a dismal season in 2020. Here are my picks in no particular order.

1.) Liam Hendriks: ($5M) Liam Hendriks is the best reliever in baseball over the last two seasons. Since 2019 Hendriks has an ERA of 1.79 in 99 games with an astounding 13.1 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched. Acquiring Liam Hendriks, the closer for the Athletics, would give manager Aaron Boone the ability to mix and match Hendriks, Britton, and Chapman to suit the opposing hitter in must-win games. I have never been and still am not a big Chapman supporter; although his stats are good, he most often seems to fail in the most important moments. Having three closer types might seem extreme, but it seems really good to me. Hendriks would also not put a huge dent in the New York Yankee finances.

2.) David Roberson ($7M) Yes, he has been with the Yankees twice already, and each time he left, the Yankees lost out. Here is where the risk comes in, D-Rob is now 36 years old and is coming back from Tommy John surgery, but in my opinion, the potential reward far outweighs the risk involved. Before the 2019 season, he became a Philadelphia Philly for $23 million and a two-year contract. Unfortunately, his time with the Phillies was not a productive one; he required Tommy John surgery and pitched in only seven games in 2019 and none in 2020. The Phillies did not exercise his $12 million option for 2021. For the Yankees, few pitchers have pitched better than David Robertson during the last 12 years. He has a 38-22 record with the Yankees with a tiny ERA of 2.75.

3.) Brad Hand ($6M) For the New York Yankees, it’s intriguing that Brad Hand is available. The Indians declined Hand’s $10 million option in a cost-cutting measure, and now the man who led MLB in saves in 2020 and has a 2.70 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 12.2 K/9, and a 157 ERA+ over the last five years is on the market. It should be a no-brainer for the Yankees.  A southpaw, Hand is particularly stingy against left-handed hitters. They haven’t hit better than .196 against him over the last four years, and a lefty hasn’t taken him deep in two seasons. What makes Hand most remarkable is that he is insanely consistent in an art that is seldom consistent.

4.) Mark Melancon ($6.5M) Last year with the Braves, he helped bring them to a near World Series win going 2-1 with an ERA of 2.78 in 19 games, allowing only one home run on the season. Although primarily a closer, he has pitched middle innings for the Braves. Obviously, the Yankees don’t need a closer, but Melancon would be an excellent replacement for free agent Tommy Kahnle as a setup man for both Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman and could fill in closing any game for the Yankees. Melancon is a perfect fit for the Yankees and Yankee Stadium’s short right porch. Hitters can’t take advantage of the short porch if they can’t get the ball in the air. Mark is a ground ball pitcher, getting ground balls 56% of the time. He has an excellent curveball and cutter and will throw an occasional fastball and changeup.

5.) Shane Greene ($5M) Greene throws a mid-90s two-seam fastball with great movement and a nasty slider effective against both lefty and righty batters. Greene has a “short-arm” throwing motion, which is deceptive to hitters and can provide a fastball’s sneaky fast feeling. In 2018, he recorded 32 saves but had a 5.12 ERA. The next season, he bounced back with 22 saves and a 1.18 ERA before the trade deadline. When Greene arrived in Atlanta, he was used as a late-inning reliever and did okay. Most recently, Greene bounced back with a 2.60 ERA in 28 games during the shortened 2020 season. He was an important member of the solid Braves bullpen in 2020 and will be wanting a good contract offer during the offseason.

My pick to shore up the New York Yankee bullpen would be Liam Hendriks due to his record over the last two seasons, but I will put him as my number two choice. Here is my reasoning for choosing David Robertson as my number one pick. Robertson we know can pitch under the bright lights of New York and the demanding fans that sit in its stands. A lot of good pitchers have failed in New York. Hendriks has never pitched for a huge market team that eats up its players with extreme scrutiny.

Don’t get me wrong the Yankees would do well to pick up any of these five fine players. The dollar amount you see after each name is how much I believe will be required to sign them in this depressed market.

New York Yankees News/Rumors: Could the Yankees bring back another former Yankee?

It has been said a million times over that the New York Yankees‘ main priority is re-signing batting champ DJ LeMahieu. There is no question that LeMahieu is one of the best baseball players presently playing, and the Yankees should re-sign him. But beyond his signing, the Yankee’s next priority should be to strengthen their once-dominant bullpen, as it appears there will be no big-time acquisitions to bolster the starting rotation.

Yesterday on the same bent, I wrote about another former Yankee that the Yankees should consider, that being David Robertson, that has pitched very effectively in the Bronx. Today I would like to examine other former Yankees to bolster the bullpen. The Yankees drafted Mark Melancon in 2006. He made his Major League debut for the team in 2009 and continued to pitch through 2010 with mixed results. He pitched in 13 games in 2009 and only two games in 2010 but went home with a World Series ring.

At the beginning of 2011, he was traded by the Yankees to the Houston Astros. Over the years with the Astros, the Red Sox, the Pirates, Nationals, Giants, and the Atlanta Braves, Melancon has become one of the best relievers in baseball. He is a three-time All-Star and a Cy Young nominee. For the Pirates, he was their primary closer in multiple years postseasons. He racked up 51 save for the Pittsburgh team in 2015.

Last year with the Braves, he helped bring them to a near World Series win going 2-1 with an ERA of 2.78 in 19 games, allowing only one home run on the season. Although primarily a closer, he has pitched middle innings for the Braves. Obviously, the Yankees don’t need a closer, but Melancon would be an excellent replacement for free agent Tommy Kahnle as a setup man for both Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman and could fill in closing any game for the Yankees.

Melancon is a perfect fit for the Yankees and Yankee Stadium’s short right porch. Hitters can’t take advantage of the short porch if they can’t get the ball in the air. Mark is a ground ball pitcher, getting ground balls 56% of the time. He has an excellent curveball and cutter and will throw an occasional fastball and changeup.

Because this is a good season to take advantage of the depressed market for free agents, the Yankees could get a good deal on Melancon, particularly on a one-year deal. MLBtrades.com estimates his value at $4 million and FanGraphs at $11 million. Realistically he is probably worth halfway between the two estimates.

With the loss of Tommy Kahnle for the entire season and the lack of surety that Adam Ottavino can rebound from a dismal season in 2020, acquiring either David Robertson or Mark Melancon for insurance seems like a no brainer for the New York Yankees.

 

New York Yankees News/Rumors: Two comebackers the Yankees should consider that don’t involve DJ LeMahieu (video)

All the New York Yankee’s buzz is on batting champ DJ LeMahieu the team has everything on hold while the DJ negotiations plod along. The is no question that re-signing LeMahieu is the most important priority the Yankees have this offseason. But if they can’t sign him, believe it or not, it’s not the end of the world.  If the Yankees continue to wear blinders for that possibility, they may wait to fill other holes until it too late to find quality players.

Today I explore bringing two players back to the Yankees that the Yankees know can play successfully at Yankee Stadium. One carries a risk, and the other doesn’t. The Yankees should bring back Didi Gregorius; this is especially true if they can’t sign LeMahieu. The fact of the matter is that the Yankees should never have let him walk, to begin with. After having successful seasons with the Yankees, Didi returned from surgery and didn’t perform as well as the Yankees hoped for, so they let him go to the Philadelphia Phillies.

After the second year from surgery, Didi returned to the excellent player he was with the Yankees. Last season Didi hit .284. To put that into perspective, with 100 at-bats or more, only DJ LeMahieu and Gio Urshela had a better batting average for the Yankees last season. Didi also hit 10 homers in the short season and drove in 40 Phillies. In a regular-season that over 100 RBI’s. What’s not to like with that performance? It’s something the Yankees certainly could have used last season. Another plus to bringing him back to the Bronx is his lefty bat for a lineup that is too right-handed heavy.

The New York Yankee fans love Gregorius, and he fits in beautifully with the team. Unfortunately for Didi, the Philadelphia Phillies can no longer afford him and his $14 million contract. The Phillies lost a lot of money last season and are basically dumping payroll, including the best catcher in baseball J.T. Realmuto. With the Phillies not wanting to pay Didi, his value on the open market is most likely reduced. Gregorius has lately been tweeting his thoughts of being open to returning to the Yankees. To me, this is a no brainer move.

The next bring back player will make some of you laugh, David Robertson. Yes, he has been with the Yankees twice already, and each time he left, the Yankees lost out. Here is where the risk comes in, D-Rob is now 36 years old and is coming back from Tommy John surgery, but in my opinion, the potential reward far outweighs the risk involved.

Let’s start at the beginning. Many newer Yankees fans hear the name David Robertson they think of a relief pitcher that has pitched for many teams. The fact is that D-Rob is a Yankee homegrown pitcher. The Yankees signed him in the draft of 2006. He worked his way up through the minor league system and made his major league debut for the New York Yankees on June 28, 2008; after mixed results, he was sent back down to Scranton Wilkes/Barre.

2009 would see Robertson go up and down between Scranton and the bigs. He had a good season with the Yankees, but he made his name in the 2009 postseason. Both in the ALDS and ALCS, he was called in with multiple players on base; he never allowed a run and got the win in both games. Robertson would pitch in relief for the Yankees as Mariano Riveras set up man through 2013 when Rivera retired. D-Rob became the Yankee closer in 2014; he saved 39 of 44 save opportunities. He made $5 million that year. The Yankees offered him a $15 million qualifying offer, which he refused.

Robertson signed a big-money deal with the Chicago White Sox, but when the Yankees were making a run on the postseason in 2017, the Yankees again called on Robertson to help them via trade. In his first game back after the trade, he struck out the side in the seventh inning to preserve a 5-1 win over the Mariners. He ended the regular season 5-0, giving up just four runs on the season. In the 2017 Wild Card Game, Robertson set career post-season single-game highs in innings pitched, with ​3 13, and pitches thrown, with 52. He allowed no runs and earned the win.

In 2018 after another successful season with the Yankees, he became the only pitcher in major league history to average at least 10 strikeouts/9 innings pitched in each of his first 11 seasons. But after the 2018 season, Robertson would again be a free agent when the Yankees did not exercise his option. Before the 2019 season, he became a Philadelphia Philly for $23 million and a two-year contract.

Unfortunately, his time with the Phillies was not a productive one; he required Tommy John surgery and pitched in only seven games in 2019 and none in 2020. The Phillies did not exercise his $12 million option for 2021. For the Yankees, few pitchers have pitched better than David Robertson during the last 12 years. He has a 38-22 record with the Yankees with a tiny ERA of 2.75.

The New York Yankees could probably get both of these fine players for under $20 million. It’s an idea the Yankees should at least kick the tired on.