Thursday, March 27, 2014

AB4AR 2014 Season Preview: The Bullpen

(Not Mo.  But potentially just as good.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

For the better part of the last 2 decades, any talk about the Yankee bullpen began and ended with Mariano Rivera.  No matter the combined skill and depth of the other 6 relievers in front of him, having Mo there for the 9th inning was the great equalizer, the 1-man advantage that no other team could compete with.  2013 was the final season of Mo's reign of terror over the rest of the American League and the Yankees embark on the start of a new bullpen era this season with Mo's successor assuming the 9th inning throne.

Mo was not the only major loss from last year's bullpen.  Recent mainstays like Boone Logan and Joba Chamberlain have also moved on, and the Yankees enter this season far less settled in their relief role definition and hierarchy than they've been in quite some time.  The potential is there for this group to be every bit as effective and occasionally dominant as the last group was.  It's a matter of seeing who steps up, who falters, and how everything eventually shakes out.

Opening Day Roster Prediction

There are 5 days left until Opening Day, fewer ST games than that.  There's not much left to guess about at this point, so it's as good a time as any to make my official Opening Day 25-man roster prediction.  Without further ado, here's what I'm expecting to see:

Starting Lineup: Brian McCann, Mark Teixeira, Brian Roberts, Derek Jeter, Kelly Johnson, Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Alfonso Soriano

Starting Rotation: CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda

Bullpen: David Robertson, Shawn Kelley, Matt Thornton, David Phelps, Adam Warren, Dellin Betances, Matt Daley

Bench: Francisco Cervelli, Eduardo Nunez, Dean Anna, Ichiro Suzuki

Spring Training News And Notes: 3/26/14

In what was Derek Jeter's final ST road game ever, the Yankees lost to the Blue Jays 10-6 thanks to some truly horrid bullpen work by Preston Claiborne.  Gave up 6 runs, recorded 0 outs.  He probably cost himself a chance at a roster spot with that.

- Jacoby Ellsbury played in another MiL game and went 5 innings in center field to go along with a 1-4, 1 BB day at the dish.  He's scheduled for another one today and the team is saying he'll be ready for Opening Day.

- After John Ryan Murphy got reassigned on Tuesday, it was Austin Romine's turn yesterday.  By default, that makes Francisco Cervelli the (well-earned) Major League backup.

- Confirmed that Brendan Ryan will open the season on the DL.  Reported that Alfonso Soriano has been dealing with some shoulder tightness; nothing that serious.

- David Phelps and Adam Warren are scheduled to pitch out of the 'pen in today's game.  Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda threw bullpens yesterday.