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November 21, 2005

The Yankees 2006 Bullpen

Right now, the only thing that we know about the Yankees 2006 bullpen is that Mariano Rivera and Tanyon Sturtze will be in it. I do expect the Yankees to carry 6 pitchers in their pen to start the season next year. This means there are four spots to fill.

I'm hoping that the Yankees re-sign Aaron Small to take one of those four slots - he deserves it (based on what he did in 2005).

I also anticipate Jaret Wright getting one of the four spots (as the "last man" in the pen) - and here I assume that he is healthy, not traded, and not needed for the starting rotation. If he is not available, I suppose it would be OK to have Jorge DePaula take this role on the team - or even a prospect like Steven White. The "last man" in the pen doesn't have to be a stud - just someone who can handle a mop.

What about the other two undefined positions in the bullpen? It would be nice to have a lefty in the mix. A propect like Matt Smith or a vet like Al Leiter maybe? And, for the other spot, right now, according to who's on the roster, it will be a Scott Proctor type. Or, could it be Jose Veras?

In summary, right now, it would look like this:

Closer: Rivera
Set-up: Sturtze and Small
Bridge: Proctor or Veras
Lefty: Smith or Leiter
Long-man: Wright or DePaula or White

I could see Torre burning out Sturtze and Small in a hurry with that group.

Ideally, the Yankees can acquire another set-up type pitcher, for now call him Kyle Farnsworth, and then everyone below Mo slides down a notch, as follows:

9th Inning: Rivera
8th Inning: Farnsworth
6th and 7th Inning: Sturtze and Small
5th Inning: Wright
Lefty: Leiter/Smith

And, then, you have Proctor, Veras, DePaula, et al, pitching in Columbus, if needed, where they belong. Or, one of them replaces Wright (if needed).

So, to me, the Yankees bullpen plan should be simple:

Sign Small.
Sign Farnsworth (or someone like him).
Figure out who is your lefty.

I wonder what they're waiting for?

Posted by Steve Lombardi at November 21, 2005 10:52 AM


Great analysis, Steve! I agree, not to tough to do, let's get signing. There really isn't much else out there, with the exception of Flash Gordon who wants 3 to close, and we're offering 2 to set up. Under your scenario I don't even see him as setup, just a RH relief pitcher. That might scare him away.

BTW: We need a 2nd catcher who can give us at least some offense.

Posted by: Scott Coulter [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 21, 2005 11:46 AM

As Johnny C likes to point out (and and this point I agree with him), they're waiting on Cashman to take his orders from Tampa. Until the honchos in Florida say otherwise, Cashman will do nothing except for find new and creatively silly ways to flush good money into the toilet.

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 21, 2005 11:53 AM

Gordon could be the "Farnsworth" type to set up. But, there are some numbers out there that say he would not be as effective as the actual Farnsworth.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 21, 2005 11:54 AM

Before I seriously start to look at the pen, I'd wait to see who gets nontendered first.

I'd have Small as the long man/swingman. For the lefty, I'd see if Leiter's interested in LOOGY work, or I'd see what Mike Myers is asking. The advantage with Leiter (as small as it may be) is that he'd be available to spot start. With that rotation (your top two guys can go at any time, as well as either Pavano or Wright), you need guys who can throw a few innings.

I'd set up the pen similar to what you have Steve, with Small as the long man. I think Wright's going to have every opportunity to win a starting spot. If he gets bumped to the pen, I see him used as a bridge; it's only going to be for another season anyway.

I'd make a push for Farnsworth, Gordon, Looper, Urbina or Dotel.

But before I sign any big ticket items for the pen, I want to see who gets nontendered first.

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 21, 2005 12:11 PM

Could Leiter actually spot start if his last two dozen appearances over the course of two months were for one or two outs each?

Posted by: rilkefan [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 21, 2005 07:29 PM

Sign Farnsworth and Taverez. Pray that we didn't go 50 mill for 5 yrs for Ryan which is ridiculous for any guy not named Rivera, Wagner or Lidge.

Posted by: Josh [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 26, 2005 09:58 PM