While we're on the topic of interesting things said by Joe yesterday, how about his comment that David Robertson, Shawn Kelley, and Preston Claiborne will all be part of the bullpen next season? It may not sound like much, but when you consider the available spots in the 'pen and the number of available bodies, it may shed a little light on what the Yankees plan to do with David Phelps and Adam Warren.
Using my Project 189 team as a hypothetical starting point, I had Claiborne as the odd man out to start the year based on the assumption that the Yankees were going to carry both Phelps and Warren. If Claiborne is in as far as Joe's concerned, that locks up 3 of the 7 available spots. Another one is going to be reserved for a LOOGY, another will probably be saved for Dellin Betances since it's put up or shut up time for him, and I still expect the Yankees to sign Veteran Reliever X to take on some of the late-inning work. That's 6 guys with only 1 open spot remaining for a long man.
That spot will more than likely go to Phelps or Warren, neither of whom I expect to beat out Michael Pineda for the final rotation spot, and that leaves the other out in the cold. There's no point in sending either of them back down to Triple-A at this point, not when guys like Nuno, ManBan, Jose Ramirez, Nik Turley, and possibly Shane Greene are in the mix and in need of regular work.
The next best option would be to see if either of Phelps or Warren can be useful as a trade piece, and as the closest thing to young, quality, Major League-ready starters as the Yankees have, I think they could be. Admittedly this is reading too much into what Joe said, and it's still early enough that some of the other players mentioned above could get hurt or not perform well in Spring Training to alter the plans. But if Joe already has 3 bullpen spots accounted for in his mind, that means there's 1 less spot to fit in Phelps and Warren together.
Game 124 Preview: Yankees vs. Astros
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