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Imagining the Yankees bullpen if the season started today

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We haven't reached January yet, but right now the Yankees bullpen is looking pretty thin. Something could (read: should) change on that front in the next few weeks, but there are no guarantees. If the season started today and the team had to make a judgement call on who to take in their bullpen, here is who I would want them to take out of the internal options available to them right now.

Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances

Of course the back of the bullpen will remain in place. Andrew Miller will be the closer and Dellin Betances will be his setup man. They were two of the top relievers in baseball (Miller actually WAS the best), so there's no reason to change something that works. After those two, I would have a few of the younger guys fight it out in spring training to see who deserves a shot. Just like in 2015, the Yankees will probably use all their relievers for a good amount of innings, so this is really just to see who gets first crack.

Chasen Shreve

Chasen Shreve would be my 7th Inning Guy, capable of pitching in short and long relief, just like Dellin. It was incredibly disheartening to see Shreve collapse so badly in the last month of the season, but as a 24-year-old pitching 58 innings at the highest level for the first time in his career, you have to at least give him the benefit of the doubt. The Yankees already gave up on one half of the return for Manny Banuelos, so Shreve needs to stay. He will be under team control for another five seasons, still has options, and if he has another first half like last year, Shreve could be an All-Star in 2016. If they can get 70-something effective innings out of him, he'll replace Adam Warren in the bullpen.

James Pazos

Last year, the Yankees went wth three lefties in the bullpen, and this year it is a good idea to do the same thing again. For the role of lefty specialist, I would have James Pazos and Jacob Lindgren compete in spring training. It's not that I think the two are equal, but Lindgren is the prized possession and is coming off elbow surgery. If he doesn't go out there and utterly dominate, I want to go slow with him and let him amp his way back up. In the meantime, Pazos turned out to have an impressive debut in the limited time he was given and actually made the playoff roster. The Yankees should want to see more of him and find out what they have.

Ivan Nova

The Yankees probably have two contenders for the role of long reliever in Ivan Nova and Bryan Mitchell. Neither are very good and both are players I do not want to see on my baseball team, yet here we are. Nova will get the job because Mitchell is not good and because Nova has nowhere else to go. With another season removed from Tommy John, Nova will hopefully be better. Moving him to the bullpen will probably allow him to improve his pitch selection and keep himself fresh for when he has to replace someone in the rotation.

Johnny Barbato and Nick Goody

For the last two spots, I think things should come down to pitch selection. Pazos has a slider and Shreve has a change, so we want to find the best pitchers with different out pitches to hopefully keep hitters guessing. Now Branden Pinder, Nick Goody, and Caleb Cotham all throw sliders, but Nick Rumbelow has a changeup and Johnny Barbato throws a curveball. Obviously, this won't be as perfect as picking different pitches, so it really comes down to who does well in spring training. If everything were equal, though, I'd probably go with Barbato and either Rumbelow or Goody. For me, Cotham is a Quad-A reliever and I'm surprised he's still on the roster, and Pinder seemed to get too many innings in 2015. In the end, I think I'd be rooting for Barbato and Goody to come out on top. Both dominated Triple-A this year and they should get first crack in 2015.

None of this means anything in December, though. The Yankees will make a trade, someone will get hurt in spring training, and players will surprise you, one way or the other. A bullpen of Miller–Dellin–Shreve–Pazos–Nova–Barbato–Goody sounds acceptable, but we don't know. Players like Vinnie Pestano could prove to be wild cards, depending how they perform, and someone else (Tyler Webb?) could put himself on the map in March. This is what I would do with the bullpen right now, but this isn't the complete picture just yet. While we wait, who would you take?