Opening Day is nearly upon us, and the Yankees are in the process of finalizing their 26-man team in wake of the several injuries that have hit them this spring. Tommy Kahnle and Lou Trivino’s absences in particular made the bullpen unclear, not to mention both Clarke Schmidt and Domingo Germán moving up from long reliever roles into the starting rotation.
After Sunday afternoon’s win over the Blue Jays, Yankees manager Aaron Boone revealed two bullpen additions who had not been previously announced: right-handers Jimmy Cordero and Albert Abreu.
Jimmy Cordero and Albert Abreu have made the #Yankees’ 26-man roster, Aaron Boone said.— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) March 26, 2023
Cordero has long been a dark horse bullpen candidate since he was previously a major leaguer and was added to the 40-man roster back in November. He pitched 83 innings with the Nationals, Blue Jays, and White Sox between 2018-20, but was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery in spring 2021. He signed with the Yankees during the following offseason to continue his rehab and hone his power sinker in Triple-A. It was a very good year for Cordero, with a 2.09 ERA and a sub-1.00 WHIP (0.98) in just under 40 innings, which fully put him on the Yankees’ radar for 2023.
As for Abreu, he’s a familiar name around these parts. After a middling-at-best 2021, he was out of options last spring and dealt to the Rangers for surprise All-Star catcher Jose Trevino. He bounced around a couple teams, only to end up back in the Bronx via waivers. Despite some occasionally frustrating moments, he was ultimately effective, with a sub-3.00 FIP (2.92).
As Aaron Boone and Matt Blake will need to work around the absences of Luis Severino and Carlos Rodón to start the year* (not to mention the longer-term absence of Frankie Montas), they’ll need depth in the bullpen more than ever. Clay Holmes, Jonathan Loáisiga, Michael King, and Wandy Peralta will all lead the way. Ron Marinaccio will be back in the fold too, and if there were any questions about the solid right-hander making the cut, Bryan Hoch cleared that up as well.
*As of writing, Jhony Brito had not yet made the Yankees’ rotation, though he certainly made a good case during the Sunday matinee.
Kahnle and Trivino will start the year on the IL, and 2021-22 standby Lucas Luetge is now in Atlanta. So both Abreu and Cordero will be required to step up to a larger role — at least to open up the season. Will they be joined by Greg Weissert, Matt Krook, or someone else? That has yet to be determined, as does the starting shortstop battle between Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe.*
*Update: Just kidding. Volpe has made the team!