What’s new in the Yankees bullpen

The Yankees bullpen training

Table of Contents

NEW YORK — After the return of reliever Tommy Kahnle to the Bronx, the Yankees bullpen is set to turn louder next season. So far this winter, the Yankees have signed left-handed pitcher Carlos Rodon on a $162 million deal and a minor leaguers to build the depth.

Kahnle is the only other MLB player the Yankees have signed. He returned to the team for $11.5 million over two years after having Tommy John surgery and doing well for the LA Dodgers at the end of last season. He is the only addition to the Yankees bullpen that they really like. This is despite the fact that the bullpen was sometimes shaky at the end of last season when injuries to relievers really hurt them.

When Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton, and Chad Green, the big three in the Yankees bullpen, leave as free agents in 2023, the bullpen will definitely look different. Green won’t be able to pitch for anyone until the summer because he had Tommy John surgery last June.

Scott Effross, another big name in the Yankees bullpen, will also miss the whole 2023 season. Last year, he had a great rookie year, first for the Cubs and then for the Yankees after a trade deadline deal. However, he had to have Tommy John surgery, which will keep him out of baseball until 2024. Lucas Luetge, a veteran left-handed pitcher, is also leaving the Yankees bullpen. He was put on waiver after having an ERA of 2.74 in 57 games in 2021 and 2.67 in 50 games the year before.

Now the Yankees bullpen has Kahnle, Michael King, Clay Holmes, Jonathan Loaisiga, Ron Marinaccio, Lou Trivino, Domingo German, Clarke Schmidt, and left-handed Wandy Peralta.

“I feel like we’re probably in a better spot than it seemed at the end of the year,” pitching coach Matt Blake told after Rodon’s unveiling at Yankee Stadium. “I felt like there was probably a lot of moving parts and not a lot of stability amongst the roles and I think we’ve got a lot of guys who are capable of handling the high-leverage situations with Clay, Wandy, and Loaisiga. And Trivino can step into that spot, Kahnle has done it before and you’re hoping to get King back early in the year.”

“I think all those things give us a lot of options and a lot of guys who have been through it. I think we have a nice amount of depth out there. I think you feel good one through eight out there that all of them can contribute in a high-leverage situation and you’re not feeling like it’s an unknown of what’s going to happen like it has been in the past.”

During a 15-minute chat with beat writers last week, Matt Blake also talked about his relievers’ injuries and gave his thoughts on a few of them.

Michael King may return to the Yankees bullpen

The Yankees are hoping that King, who was the best reliever last year, will be back in the Yankees bullpen very early in the 2023 season, maybe back on Opening Day. Last July, King had surgery on his elbow, which ended his season. He hasn’t needed Tommy John surgery and this was a big relief because if Tommy John had happened, he would have been out of the Yankees bullpen until 2024.

“Obviously it’s a few months out (before spring training), but he’s been playing catch, and things have been going well,” Blake said. “We’re going to kind of slow-roll it into camp, but I think he’s going to be pretty close and if things get tracking, hopefully, he’s with us to start the season. But we’re going to take it one day at a time.”

Marinaccio will be back in the Yankees bullpen

After taking three months off to heal from a leg injury he got at the end of the season, Marinaccio seems close to being able to start a throwing program in the offseason. The right-handed pitcher from Tom Rivers, N.J., had a great rookie year last year. In 40 starts, he had an ERA of 2.05, but the Yankees bullpen didn’t put him on the postseason roster because his right shin problem turned out to be a stress reaction.

The Yankees are hopeful that Marinaccio won’t be too far behind when pitchers and catchers report for spring training on February 15.

“I believe so,” Blake said. “I think we’re just getting to a spot where we make sure that the stress reaction in the leg is fully healed when he starts his throwing program. He’s tracking in a good direction here and we feel good about the healing so far.”

German, Schmidt to compete to find a place in the Yankees bullpen

German and Schmidt may be allowed to compete for the starter job in the Yankees bullpen during spring training. They may be looking to work on becoming starters in case not everyone in the Yankees’ rotation stays healthy during the spring. If that does not happen, German and Schmidt will be in the running for eight Yankees bullpen spots on a 26-man roster that will likely have 13 position players and 13 pitchers (which is the max allowed).

“I think we build them up as starters because you never know what will happen if we have setbacks in the spring or guys are late to the party,” Blake said.

If all in the Yankees bullpen stay healthy, Marinaccio could be the favorite to beat out Schmidt and Albert Abreu, who is out of options, for the last bullpen spot. Jimmy Cordero, a veteran right-handed pitcher, and Greg Weissert, a rookie right-handed pitcher, are also on the 40-man roster and could be used at some point.

Even so, German is likely to be used as a middle-relief pitcher for multiple innings when all of the Yankees’ projected starters are healthy, and Schmidt may do the same thing when he gets a chance to play in the big leagues.

“Both German and Clarke offer a lot out of the bullpen,” Blake said. “German is a really good strike-thrower and provides some length and can match up in longer durations. Clarke has shown that kind of Swiss Army role where he can come in early and give you a length, come in in the seventh and eighth and match up with some righties. I think it’s getting them to just focus on what they’re working on to get better and then we’ll figure out what role it ends up in.”

When Kanhle left the Yankees in 2017, he was so loud in the showers that you could hear him all the way in the clubhouse. As he is back, the Yankees bullpen is louder again.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

Related posts:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join the Pinstripes Nation!

Your Daily Dose of Yankees Magic Delivered to Your Inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Don't Miss Any of the Latest Yankees News, Rumors, and Exclusive Offers!