As Opening Day approaches, I find myself cautiously excited. It’ll be nice to see meaningful baseball games, and even while I don’t necessarily agree with the decision to open the ballpark to fans on a limited basis, the fact that it’s allowed is still a sign that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Yet, I found myself not as enthused about the upcoming season.
Part of that is because it’s hard to ignore what’s still going on in the world, part of that is because of what’s going on in MLB in general, and part of that is because this team simply doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence with me. The offense has the potential to be very, very fun to watch, but it also has the potential to have Brett Gardner and Mike Tauchman start more games than they should. Then obviously there’s the pitching.
The Yankees deploying a rotation that seems shaky at best isn’t anything new. Usually, however, they at least have a solid bullpen behind them that fans can feel good about being there to pick up the slack. Now, though, even the bullpen is wavering. It started when Zack Britton, perhaps the team’s most reliable reliever, went down after needing surgery to remove a bone chip and loose bodies.
After him, Adam Warren and Asher Wojciechowski were also sidelined. While they weren’t expected to be core pieces of the bullpen, they’re still arms in the organization that could’ve potentially stepped in to help fill the void. Now, most recently, Justin Wilson, who was brought in this offseason and was expected to play a significant role in the 2021 bullpen, is awaiting results of an MRI on his shoulder.
With the injuries and question marks piling up, it would behoove the Yankees to get on the phones and try to get some additional help. While they do have internal options they can try out, none of them are really proven or known commodities. If they falter, the Yankees could be left hanging for a long time. It might make sense to look for some external help as well, as there’s no such thing as too much depth.
Now this may come as a shock to those reading this but I, Kunj Shah, believe the Yankees should be on the phone with David Robertson and he should be making his way to the Yankees’ camp right away. I’ve been advocating for this for a while now, but in their current situation, it makes sense to bring him in for a look — at the very least.
The arguments against bringing D-Rob back are more than fair. He’s an older reliever, coming off a major injury of his own. It’s not like he’s exactly a sure thing at this point, and the Yankees probably shouldn’t try and depend on another question mark. But when Opening Day is a week away, the pickings are slim. Top of the line, steady relievers aren’t just sitting around and teams aren’t generally looking to deal quality relievers this time of the year. Also: he’s D-Rob. Checkmate.
David Robertson represents perhaps the best hope of the handful of relievers that are still free agents. If for whatever reason they don’t want to bring Robertson back, they could also consider a Shane Greene reunion, which I’d support if I can still make references to Beaker from the Muppets. He’s even more of a sure bet to succeed in the bullpen since he was effective as recently as last season in Atlanta. The caveat, though, is that this very reliability might make Greene more personally interested in signing with a more desperate team willing to pay him for a more concrete role. (Hello, Toronto.)
The Yankees could also look at someone like Brad Peacock, which would allow me to make Katy Perry references. Roberto Osuna, though, can just stay the hell away. The Yankees don’t need to keep collecting garbage. Either way, the Yankees need a body or two that can pitch relief innings at this point, especially with Britton and now Wilson on the shelf. Hopefully they’re working the phones to make that happen.