Skip to content

No Soriano, Joba means bullpen help a must for Yanks

Jun 9, 2011, 6:40 PM EST

Who will bridge the gap to Mo? Getty Images

Now without both Joe Girardi’s designated seventh- and eighth-inning guys, the Yankees are going to be scrambling for setup help over the next two months.

The news today that Joba Chamberlain would likely need Tommy John surgery, coming on the heels of Rafael Soriano getting shut down for at least a month, leaves the Yankees without much of a bridge to Mariano Rivera the moment.

They can take heart that David Robertson has stepped up in a big way so far.  After showing plenty of potential in fanning 63 batters in just 43 2/3 innings in 2009, Robertson took a step backwards last year.  His ERA was an adequate 3.82, but he walked more than a batter every other inning and finished with a 1.50 WHIP.

This year, the walks have been even more abundant, with 18 in 23 1/3 innings.  However, he’s also fanned 38, posted a 1.16 ERA and stranded 19 of 25 inherited runners.

Unfortunately, Robertson is the only setup-type reliever the Yankees have left.  Boone Logan has decent numbers, but he’s failing as a lefty specialist (left-handers are hitting .316 off him).  Journeyman Luis Ayala has also been solid, but there’s no telling how long that it will last and he’s usually been quite vulnerable to left-handed hitters.

Help from the minors is a possibility.  Kevin Whelan has always had talent, and it looks like his control might finally be decent enough to allow him to help.  He has a 30/6 K/BB ratio and a 1.67 ERA in 27 innings as Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s closer this season.

There’s one route the Bombers don’t want to go, but it may be worth a try anyway: top prospect Manny Banuelos showed potentially dominant stuff in one- and two-inning appearances this spring.  The 20-year-old lefty currently has a 2.84 ERA in 11 starts for Double-A Trenton. Right-hander Dellin Betances would be another intriguing candidate to make a switch.  He has a 1.99 ERA in nine starts for Trenton.

The Yankees, though, aren’t going to turn to either now and might still not want to even when August rolls around.  Expect them to start going shopping at some point. Heath Bell would be very costly — the Padres would likely ask for either Banuelos or Betances in a deal — but the Yankees will inquire about both him and Mike Adams.  The A’s will have Grant Balfour, Brian Fuentes and Michael Wuertz to deal if they fall completely out of the AL West race, and the Twins will likely listen on Mike Capps, though he’s not an ideal fit in Yankee Stadium.

Who knows? Maybe they could even bring in Kerry Wood for the second year in a row.  If Wood would waive his no-trade clause to play anywhere other than Chicago, a return to New York would make sense.

Latest Posts
  1. Chihiro Kaneko re-signs with Orix Buffaloes

    Dec 25, 2014, 3:05 PM EST

    kaneko getty Getty Images

    Japanese righty Chihiro Kaneko might have been one of the top starters on the open market this winter had he been posted by the Orix Buffaloes, his Nippon Professional Baseball team.

  2. 2015 Free Agent Tracker

    Dec 25, 2014, 1:23 PM EST

    Hanley Ramirez Hanley Ramirez

    Your one-stop shop for all of the offseason signings.

  3. Merry Christmas from HBT!

    Dec 25, 2014, 8:47 AM EST

    Screen Shot 2014-12-25 at 8.45.33 AM

    And a very special friend of HBT

  4. Tommy Lasorda reads “Twas the Night Before Christmas”

    Dec 24, 2014, 10:00 PM EST

    mlb video

    A good way to finish off our Christmas Eve coverage on HardballTalk …

  5. Kenta Maeda re-signs with the Hiroshima Carp

    Dec 24, 2014, 8:04 PM EST

    kenta maeda getty Getty Images

    The sought-after 26-year-old right-hander has now officially re-signed with the Hiroshima Carp for the 2015 season, according to the Japan Times.

  6. Rockies sign outfielder Roger Bernadina

    Dec 24, 2014, 6:17 PM EST

    roger bernadina getty Getty Images

    Ben Badler of Baseball America reports that the Rockies have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with outfielder Roger Bernadina.

  7. What baseball team did people from Bedford Falls root for?

    Dec 24, 2014, 4:21 PM EST

    IAWL

    A toast to my big brother George: The richest man in town. Well, except for Mr. Potter. That guy is LOADED.

  8. The Braves and A.J. Pierzynski reach a one-year deal; first reported in a ham store

    Dec 24, 2014, 2:00 PM EST

    Ham

    No, really. The news broke on line at a Honeybaked Ham store.

  9. THE YEAR IN REVIEW: HBT’s most commented-upon stories of the year

    Dec 24, 2014, 1:00 PM EST

    megaphone

    Based on these results, no, we will not stick to baseball. Because you clearly don’t want us to.

  10. Orioles re-sign Delmon Young

    Dec 24, 2014, 12:02 PM EST

    Delmon Young Getty Images

    Buck Showalter found a way to get value out of Young in a part-time role.

  11. “There’s a decent chance” the Rays will trade Ben Zobrist

    Dec 24, 2014, 11:16 AM EST

    Ben Zobrist AP

    Zobrist has been a regular for the Rays since 2008.

  12. The average major league salary is up to $3.8 million

    Dec 24, 2014, 11:00 AM EST

    Money Bag

    Money don’t get everything it’s true. But what it don’t get, I can’t use

  13. The Yankees are treating Alex Rodriguez differently than they treated Derek Jeter. So what?

    Dec 24, 2014, 9:14 AM EST

    Jeter and A-Rod

    Dirty secret: baseball isn’t always about winning. Even when the Yankees are involved.

  14. Video: Nationals Park transforms into ice rink for next week’s 2015 Winter Classic

    Dec 23, 2014, 10:59 PM EST

    2015 winter classic logo

    “NHL Live” on NBC Sports Network ended a segment Tuesday night with this time-lapse video of Nationals Park being converted from a baseball field into an ice rink for next week’s 2015 NHL Winter Classic between the Washington Capitals and visiting Chicago Blackhawks …

  15. Padres ink Brett Wallace to minor league contract

    Dec 23, 2014, 9:44 PM EST

    brett wallace getty Getty Images

    As first reported by Matt Eddy of Baseball America, the Padres have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with first baseman Brett Wallace. The deal comes with an invitation to …

  16. Braves sign setup man Jason Grilli to two-year contract

    Dec 23, 2014, 8:31 PM EST

    jason grilli getty Getty Images

    From FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal comes word that the Braves have signed 38-year-old right-handed reliever Jason Grilli to a two-year, $8 million contract with a club option for 2017 …

  17. Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada expected to begin private workouts within two weeks

    Dec 23, 2014, 7:58 PM EST

    cuba hat

    19-year-old infield prospect Yoan Moncada defected from his native Cuba over the summer and was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball back in mid-November, but he is still waiting for official clearance from the United States’ Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) …

  18. Cubs announce two-year, $5 million deal with David Ross

    Dec 23, 2014, 6:23 PM EST

    david ross

    FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal was first to report that a deal was in place between the Cubs and veteran catcher David Ross, and now that agreement has been made official …

  19. Twins sign Tim Stauffer for $2.2 million

    Dec 23, 2014, 5:17 PM EST

    Tim Stauffer Getty Getty Images

    Minnesota adds a right-handed reliever.

Featured video

Cubs shore up rotation with Jon Lester
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. W. Myers (3297)
  2. J. Kang (3123)
  3. C. McGehee (2839)
  4. J. Upton (2821)
  5. W. Middlebrooks (2814)
  1. D. Ross (2621)
  2. T. Tulowitzki (2394)
  3. J. Shields (1915)
  4. D. Haren (1865)
  5. M. Kemp (1856)