Wednesday, November 7, 2012

2012 AB4AR Season Review: The Bullpen

(It's OK, D-Rob.  You're still MY closer of the future.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

Like the lineup, the 2012 Yankee bullpen was made up of mostly familiar faces.  Unlike the lineup, those familiar faces didn't experience nearly the regression in performance that their bat-wielding teammates did.  That's not to say that the bullpen wasn't without its own problems this season.  They certainly weren't spared the wrath of the injury bug, losing the 2 most important members of the group for different stretches of time early in the season.  But that was alleviated by the return of others from previous injuries later in the season, a big-time comeback season from 2011's biggest disappointment, and another instance of Cash finding diamonds in the rough that contributed their fair share of above-average middle innings work.

The bullpen group wasn't as otherworldly dominant as they could have been, which is to be expected when the best relief pitcher on the planet misses almost the entire season.  But as anticipated they maintained their status as one of the best groups in baseball.  Their 3.62 FIP in 444.0 innings of work ranked 6th in MLB, 3rd in the American League, as did their 8.92 K/9.  Despite Joe still remaining too married to the idea of set roles for certain guys, the Yankee bullpen managed to step up and overcome the biggest obstacle they've faced in some time to once again be the backbone of this team.

GM Meetings Start Today

Baseball's annual gathering of the GMs kicks off today in Cali, another sign that we've put the 2012 season squarely in the rearview and are focusing almost all energy towards 2013.  Don't expect anything big to come from these meetings; they're more of the warm-up act for the main event of the Winter Meetings next month.  That being said, the groundwork for potential deals and bigger Winter Meeting discussions can be laid here, and Ken Davidoff and George King of The Post reported yesterday that Cash will likely sit down with Torii Hunter's agent while attending the meetings this week.  Hunter is a prime candidate to replace Nick Swisher in right field, and with the Yankees staying quiet early in the offseason this could be a clue as to where their priorities lie in filling that hole.

If anything big does happen I'll definitely be here to cover it, but I wouldn't expect any breaking transaction news to come out the next 3 days.  Better of withholding your excitement until December.

P.S.- Part of me wonders if these meetings are just a way for all the GMs to get together, kick back, and laugh about all the crap that happened this season and what their stupid owners did and didn't want them to do. I picture the doors closing to whatever conference room in whatever hotel they're in and guys breaking out the cigars and beers for a 3-day party.  By the time Friday rolls around there's guys grouping up to play high-stakes poker games and spraying hookers down with one of those big $10,000 bottles of Spades.  That would be awesome.