There isn’t a whole lot wrong with the current Yankees roster. They have power, speed and a tremendous late inning pitching staff. Currently sitting at 28-12, the Yanks seem to have everything going right and are certaininly in line for a playoff run in October. They know that each playoff game is so delicate, and one wrong move or one off day could change the course of a game, or even series. The Yankees showed everyone last season they have what it takes to survive the October gauntlet, but there is still one piece of the puzzle that can be sewn up, and it isn’t even something you’d think about until the time came.
To me, a hole I see is in the bullpen at the long reliever position. When handed the ball, long relievers often walk into tough situations. Use last season’s AL Wild Card Game as an example, after 1/3 of an inning from Luis Severino, Chad Green was given the ball in a tough spot down three runs. Granted, he escaped the inning and the Yankees went on to win the game, but it was still an odd situation for Chad Green to have to endure.
Currently, the Yankees don’t have a strong long reliever that can be trusted to clean up a starter’s mess. Domingo German fit the bill perfectly, but he is now starting due to Jordan Montgomery’s elbow injury. With an injured Adam Warren, that puts the position in question. However, with a solid outing on Saturday vs the Oakland Athletics, AJ Cole showed that he is more than capable of throwing numerous quality innings. The unknown is if he can do that consistently, or if it was just a fluke. Whether they decide to give Cole more chances or hold out for Adam Warren’s return, there are always more possibilities, such as a trade before late July’s trade deadline. If the Yanks decided to go this route, a surplus of prospects should be more than enough to make a deal with a rebuilding club. If possible, the current tandem on Warren and Cole would be the easiest for the Yankees. Being able to pair a veteran in Warren with a new face to the Bronx in Cole would be a great help in handling the long reliever position.
Some may argue that starting pitching is the biggest hole in the Yankees roster, but I believe it’s improving the guys after them. As of May 15, their starters have given many quality starts, and when they haven’t, their offense has been able to pick them up. Come playoff time, every pitch matters. If a starting pitcher doesn’t have his best stuff, the ability for Aaron Boone to pick a guy out of the bullpen and get 4+ innings from him would be vital. Having long relievers that can take on tough situations and give the team a Plan B are some of the most important guys on a ball club, and guys that I think the Yankees could use on a long playoff run.