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The Yankees bullpen is in a good place heading into the offseason

There might be a couple of additions here or there, but the current group is looking solid.

Championship Series - Houston Astros v New York Yankees - Game Four Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

During the first half of the season, the Yankees bullpen was arguably the best in the league. Aside from Chad Green getting hurt, injuries hadn’t really affected the relief corps that much, and many of the main arms plus some unexpected contributors were dealing. The unit had a 2.89 ERA (second-best in MLB) and a league-best 3.05 FIP before the break.

Then the second half happened. The end of July and the entire month of August were rough for the team as a whole, injuries started to appear, and the bullpen suffered. The group ranked fifth in baseball with a 3.08 ERA after the break, which is not too shabby, but they were 15th with a 3.74 FIP.

Aroldis Chapman, Clay Holmes, Wandy Peralta, Ron Marinaccio, Albert Abreu, Miguel Castro, Scott Effross, and Zack Britton were all hurt at some point at or near the postseason, and the Yankees were already without Green, Michael King, and Stephen Ridings. The lack of bullpen depth became evident in the playoffs, and while it wasn’t the primary reason why they were swept by the Houston Astros in the AL Championship Series, it surely didn’t help.

This leaves us wondering about the state of the bullpen at the moment. Is it a pressing need? Do the Yankees need to splash the cash and bring a pricey, effective veteran or two?

This might surprise you, but the bullpen is currently in great shape with 2023 in mind. The Yankees are starting from a good place as they head into a critical offseason, and while they can certainly tinker on the margins or try to unearth more hidden gems like Holmes or Peralta (that should be the goal every year), there shouldn’t be a sense of urgency to sign a big reliever on the market.

The Chapman and Britton contracts started off well, but their endings weren’t particularly pretty, so that should serve as an important lesson. A great, overpowering bullpen shouldn’t be built via free agency anyway. Britton, Chapman and Effross probably won’t be factors in 2023: the first two because they are free agents (as is the injured Green) and unlikely to return, and the latter because he will be rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

The potential return of King, who dodged a bullet with his fractured elbow, and Ridings plus a more prominent role for Marinaccio represents a good start. If we include Lou Trivino, Loáisiga, Holmes, Peralta, Lucas Luetge, Clarke Schmidt, Greg Weissert and a veteran or two, the potential to build a dominant unit once again is there. Albert Abreu could be a factor, as well. There are 11 names there, and the Yankees should be able to sign at least one or two more to compete for a spot.

The important thing to consider is that the organization needs to work on putting together a deeper pool of names considering how physical issues ruined the 2022 relief corps down the stretch. Real powerhouses are able to overcome a rash of injuries, and they do it by building quality depth. This might require the Yankees to pay more attention to the development of pitchers in the minors and, perhaps most importantly, give some MLB innings to those who are ready to contribute.

Some minor leaguers to watch next year for the bullpen could be Clayton Beeter, Matt Krook, Will Warren, and Randy Vásquez. Most of them are starters, but the team shouldn’t hesitate to use one or more of them in the bullpen if they can help in 2023. There are tons of examples of this around the league in recent years. The free agent market should also be monitored, and a couple of low-to-mid profile additions for depth wouldn’t hurt. High-priced pitchers like Craig Kimbrel or Kenley Jansen, however, should be avoided. Here is a list with potential free agency options.

All things considered, the Yankees bullpen has a nice foundation for the 2023 campaign. The team will be responsible of adding to its depth through player development, free agency, and the trade market, though, and they will need to do that in order to compete with the best and absorb the impact of injuries.