Yankees latest roster update cuts four pitchers, shapes up bullpen

Yankees pitcher Marcus Stroman
Sara Molnick
Monday March 25, 2024

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The New York Yankees are inching closer to finalizing their bullpen composition for Opening Day, with some recent roster maneuvers shedding light on the potential configuration.

Following a hard-fought 1-0 victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the team announced that right-handed pitchers Ron Marinaccio, Nick Ramirez, and swingman Cody Poteet have been optioned to the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre affiliate.

Additionally, starting pitcher Will Warren was reassigned to minor-league camp, suggesting he’ll likely commence the season in Triple-A after right-hander Luis Gil solidified his claim to the fifth spot in the starting rotation.

These moves provide clearer indications of the Yankees’ bullpen composition for Opening Day. Five pitchers seem to have secured spots: All-Star closer Clay Holmes, hard-throwing righty Jonathan Loáisiga, lefty specialist Ian Hamilton, the returning Caleb Ferguson, and southpaw Victor González.

Yankees bullpen final: Filling the gaps left by injuries

Luke-Weaver-new-york-yankees
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The New York Yankees are putting the finishing touches on their bullpen composition for Opening Day, and recent roster moves shed light on their strategy to address crucial needs.

During the previous campaign, relievers Michael King and Jhony Brito provided invaluable versatility, capable of pitching multiple innings and making spot starts when necessary. The Yankees are looking to fill this vital role once again.

While Luke Weaver, who re-signed with the team as a free agent, was initially a frontrunner for this role, a new development emerged. Tommy Kahnle, expected to be a significant contributor, is delayed due to a shoulder injury that hampered him last season. This unexpected setback creates two open spots in the bullpen.

Following roster moves on Sunday, it became evident that the Yankees are turning their attention to non-roster invitees to fill the gaps. Right-handers Nick Burdi and Dennis Santana have emerged as prime candidates to receive an extended look.

Burdi, known for his electric fastball, possesses the ability to log multiple innings and potentially even make spot starts. Santana, a former starter with the Los Angeles Dodgers, offers a similar skillset and the potential to provide swingman capabilities.

With these transactions and remaining contenders, the Yankees’ bullpen picture is becoming clearer. The team is prioritizing versatility and multiple-inning options to ensure they have the pitching depth needed to navigate the rigors of a long season successfully.

Burdi, Santana impress as Yankees roster decisions loom

Nick Burdi is a non-roste relief pitcher invited to Yankees spring training camp in Tampa.
Charles Wenzelberg/NYP

As Opening Day draws near, the New York Yankees’ bullpen composition continues to take shape, with recent performances and roster maneuvers shaping the final competition.

Two non-roster invitees, right-handers Nick Burdi and Dennis Santana, have emerged as strong contenders for spots in the bullpen. Burdi, renowned for his electrifying fastball, impressed in Sunday’s victory over the Pirates. He pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of starter Marcus Stroman, adding to his impressive spring training display. Over seven appearances spanning 7 1/3 innings, Burdi has compiled an impressive 2.45 ERA and struck out 13 batters.

Santana, a former starter with the Los Angeles Dodgers, has mirrored Burdi’s success. He boasts a 2.79 ERA with 13 strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings pitched this exhibition season. Both pitchers offer the versatility the Yankees covet, capable of logging multiple innings and potentially even making spot starts.

However, a hurdle remains for Burdi and Santana. To secure a spot on the active roster, they would need to be added to the Yankees’ 40-man roster. Fortunately, the team has options to create space due to injuries. Star pitcher Gerrit Cole (elbow) and infielder Oswald Peraza (shoulder) are candidates to be placed on the 60-day injured list (IL). Additionally, right-hander McKinley Moore, sidelined all spring with an injury, could also be headed to the 60-day IL.

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The Yankees’ surplus of catchers presents another opportunity. With Ben Rortvedt lacking minor-league options, he could become a trade chip. While Luis Gil is currently slated as the fifth starter, there’s a possibility he might not make the Opening Day roster. This scenario would allow the Yankees to add another reliever or keep Rortvedt, potentially delaying a trade or attempting to pass him through waivers.

Another interesting wrinkle emerged with pitching prospect Clayton Beeter. Although he wasn’t optioned down to Triple-A on Sunday, bench coach Brad Ausmus hinted at a potential bullpen role for Beeter. This strategy would see him entering games mid-inning, similar to his deployment in Saturday’s game against the Tigers after Cody Poteet’s struggles (8 runs allowed in 2 1/3 innings).

With Opening Day on the horizon, the Yankees’ bullpen picture is nearing completion. The team is prioritizing versatility, with Burdi, Santana, and Beeter all showcasing their abilities in that role. Roster decisions regarding injured players and Ben Rortvedt will be crucial in finalizing the bullpen composition for the upcoming campaign.

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