The New York Yankees have a serious bullpen problem, but these three budget relievers can boost the bullpen a ton for 2021.
The New York Yankees need to pour assets into addressing their middle infield and starting pitching needs. I would assume that little money gets poured into tuning up the bullpen. Guys like Liam Hendriks aren’t going to be getting contracts from the Yankees at his price. While Yankee fans hate this, they’ll need to use the bargain bin. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as by taking on reclamation relievers and cheaper guys, you can build an efficient bullpen. There are a lot of options the Yankees can go after to help their bullpen, and these options wouldn’t cost much at all. They would easily be able to not only return to having a top-flight bullpen but have a well-rounded roster too. Just because you don’t throw a ton of cash at it doesn’t mean you aren’t solving the problem.
New York Yankees’ Answer To Their Lack of Lefties
Andrew Chafin is not at all talked about for the Yankees. Yankee fans are glad we gave Zack Britton $14 million, but forget that there was arguably a reliever just as good on the market just like him. Both are left-handed relievers but Chafin is three years younger and has better peripherals. With a 3.64 ERA, 3.12 FIP, 3.49 xFIP, and 3.57 SIERA the lefty is certainly underrated. He strikeout over 10 batters per nine as well, and is a really underrated reliever. If the Yankees net him on a one year deal at around $3 million, it’s a HEIST. He’s an immediate upgrade for the bullpen and allows the Bronx Bombers to spend minimal on a quality reliever. He may not be a flashy name, but his slider and sinker combination has made him one of the better relievers in the sport.
Bringing in a Familiar Face
Kirby Yates was actually a former Yankee, having a 3.49 SIERA, suggesting he had potential. This potential was tapped into by the Padres, who converted him into an elite reliever. He had a rough 2020 due to having an injury that affected him and limited him to 4.2 innings. While I don’t think he will go back to his 38% K% days, he can still be a good reliever. He would be in the Blake Treinen category, being a reclamation project that if signed for cheap can pay huge dividends for your bullpen. If he has a 3.30 ERA in 2021 and racks up strikeouts, he’s everything you possibly could ask for. He’s got a simple fastball and splitter combination, and the 33-year-old RHP could be revitalized in the Bronx once again.
Old Foe, New Ally?
Roberto Osuna was famously on the receiving end of a 2 run jack by DJ LeMahieu in the 2019 ALCS. He has tormented the Yankees in his career as he was a closer for the division rival Blue Jays and then joined the dreaded Astros in 2018. He has been a thorn in the side of the Yankees for a while, so why not bring him in? His concerns happen to be with injury, but seeing that he would also be on a cheap deal, it’s a good gamble. He’s a fireballing right-hander with a 2.52 ERA and 3.23 SIERA from 2018-2019. He would be an amazing spark for the bullpen as a Kahnle replacement. He’s in the same boat as Yates, as both come off of injury. This shouldn’t deter the Yankees from giving him a prove-it contract, as there’s little risk.
These options may be “cheap”, but these are definitely arms that help you right now and won’t cost too much. The New York Yankees need a cheaper bullpen and more depth. These paths give the Yankees a way to be smart and good at the same time.