(Best in the world. Courtesy of The AP)
Infield's done, outfield's done, rotation's done. Now onto the relief corp.
What We Know- The Bullpen Pecking Order
The merits of having defined roles in the bullpen can be argued, but that's the way Joe operates and those roles for 2012, at least heading into the start of the season, are pretty well set. Mariano Rivera is the closer and official 9th Inning Guy, and only injury or the end of the world will change that. Behind him, Dave Robertson will be the setup man and official 8th Inning Guy after his dominant 2011 season and Rafael Soriano will slot into the 7th inning role. Boone Logan will retain his spot as top lefty ace, although Joe has talked about expanding his role if the Yankees decide to carry a 2nd lefty. Cory Wade is in place as the Middle Inning Relief Guy and the loser of the 5th starter competition, most likely Freddy Garcia, will be the long man.
What We Don't Know- How Quickly It Will Become Subject to Change
Mo is set in stone, but behind him there is always opportunity for change and that change could come pretty early. D-Rob certainly earned the right to hold the setup role this season after the way he pitched last year, but he's had very little time on the mound this spring thanks to his foot injury and could get off to shaky start if he's still working the kinks out. His history of wildness and Soriano's big contract could lead to a swap of spots if Robertson is ineffective. Cory Wade, who has struggled this spring and likely would have been the first out of a job when Joba or David Aardsma returned in the summer, should also be on notice. Even Freddy could get forced out of his spot when Andy returns and kicks someone from the rotation into the bullpen.
More after the jump