It hasn’t been mentioned much but Yankees’ reliever, Romulo Sanchez, looks likely to be heading out of the Bronx with Japan a likely destination. It means that most of the pieces of the Yankees’ bullpen might have fallen into place.
The heart of the bullpen is obviously Mariano Rivera. His record over the last 15 years has been nothing short of amazing and he is rightly seen as the greatest reliever and closer ever to be seen in a major league game. Spring training has given no hint that he is slowing down but it is a good time for New York to have brought in Rafael Soriano to pitch the 8th inning. It is a combination which even before it has begun has drawn comparisons with the Rivera-Wetteland tandem of 1996. The great closer and his natural successor.
One interesting development is the pre-season injury to Pedro Feliciano. Feliciano has been a workhorse for the New York Mets prior to this season but there were whispers that Jerry Manuel was overusing him in 2010 and his stint on the DL following problems during March seems to lend weight to this suggestion. And so the Yankees will have to cover for his absence for the first games of the season.
David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain and Boone Logan are going to be crucial to the bullpen and are still around from last season. Robertson needs to keep a high strike-to-ball count. Chamberlain’s stock continues to fall. Logan becomes particularly important with Damaso Marte absent indefinitely and Feliciano now also unavailable. Logan becomes the go-to-guy when the team needs a left-handed specialist out of the ‘pen.
Luis Ayala who hasn’t played in the majors since 2009 (when he split the season between Minnesota and Florida) joins Bartolo Colon who is also trying to establish himself as a ML returnee, as possibles to fill the last spots. Mark Prior who was seeking to achieve the same thing has been sent to Double-A Trenton to continue his return but Colon and possibly Ayala will be on the roster.
Steve Garrison who was born in Trenton and was previously in the Padres’ farm system is a younger alternative.
With Feliciano on the DL, my choice would be: