The Yankees bullpen has become somewhat of a concern now that Mariano Rivera has retired. David Robertson is sure to be a suitable replacement as closer, but after him the questions begin. They might have Shawn Kelley and Matt Thornton, but the remaining four spots are all wide open and none of the options exactly scream reliable. The Yankees have neglected to add anyone, other than Thornton, on a free agent contract, which is not exactly a bad thing, since relievers are so fickle.
That all changes now that Andrew Bailey has signed a minor league deal with the Yankees. The two things to remember about Bailey is that: 1. he is a good reliever, and 2. he's going to get hurt at some point. The right-hander hasn't had a full season since 2011, back when he was still with the Athletics, but he's had every injury under the sun, dealing with Tommy John surgery, a knee microfracture, an intercostal strain, more elbow surgery, thumb surgery, and, most recently, a shoulder injury.
He sounds like the perfect addition to the 2014 Yankees, which is already comprised of Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter, Brian Roberts, Brian McCann, and Jacoby Ellsbury. Obviously, as with all of them, if Bailey is healthy he'll be effective, but that's a humungous if.
This season, Bailey was one of the many closers the Red Sox employed in 2013. In 28.2 innings, he had a 3.77 ERA and 4.76 FIP with a 12.24 K/9 and 3.77 BB/9, so he still has it, despite he injuries. What he does definitely offer is an improvement as Robertson's setup man over Kelley. It's hard to pin him down for anything definitive, but he could offer at least a few months of improved performance in the 8th inning.
Major-league side of Andrew Bailey's NYY contract worth $2.5m; includes 2015 option + buyout.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) February 23, 2014
It's also come to my attention that he won't be ready to pitch until midseason after his in-season injury. This deal, like the David Aardsma deal from a few years back, might be more for 2015 than 2014. Perhaps they see him as a fall back option if Robertson leaves in free agency.