(Courtesy of the AP)
If there was anything that could conceivably derail the Yankees' yearly tradition of having one of the best bullpens in baseball, it would be the loss of Mariano Rivera. That's a reality they had to face for the first time in 2012 after he went down with a season-ending ACL tear, and it's a challenge they met head on thanks to an all-around "next man up" effort from the remaining healthy cast. Rafael Soriano proved to be a valuable signing when he was there to take over the closer role last season, allowing everybody else to stay in their usual roles and not compromising the depth in the 'pen that has become a Yankee staple.
Soriano was out after last season, a compensatory draft pick taking his place, and Mo made his gallant return to his 9th inning throne. Also returning from injury were Joba Chamberlain and David Aardsma, along with much of the same cast that did the job in 2012. The Yankee bullpen was once again primed for a big year in 2013, with a few minor (and 1 major) details that needed to be ironed out. The late-inning crew did their job, but it was those unresolved details in the middle relief department that really defined the 2013 bullpen's campaign.