For years people have cried out for a Yankees team built on young, homegrown players and for years the Steinbrenners have said no. While we're still waiting for that everyday position player to show up on the scene and get everyone excited, 2015 might still be the year for young, homegrown players. I understand that we basically say this every year and somehow we end up disappointed, but the Yankees really have a gluttony of young cost-controlled relievers that could make an impact. So, and this is key, not only could we get an all-homegrown bullpen, but also an all-talented one too.
The biggest roadblock to this dream is actually Shawn Kelley. As a Super-Two player he still has one more year of arbitration before he's a free agent and I don't know how the Yankees plan to deal with that. Kelley made $1.7 million in 2014 and he could push past $2 million in 2015. He's certainly been decent, but do the Yankees really want to invest that much when they could conceivably replace him with someone younger and cheaper? For the purpose of this silly exercise, let's say that the Yankees decide to trade or simply cut ties with Shawn Kelley. Only after we have accepted this can we hope to envision our bullpen truth.
Something would also have to be done about Josh Outman, Esmil Rogers, David Huff, and Chaz Roe, but these four won't be nearly as difficult to get rid of. All four are in various years of team control, but all four are fringe major leaguers at best, so cutting them won't be too big of a loss. Then you lose Rich Hill to free agency and you're left with plenty of homegrown talent to choose from.
It honestly doesn't even matter if the Yankees end up re-signing David Robertson. Obviously, they're better off with him than without him, but the organization still has enough talent to make their corps of relievers the way we want them to:
|Dellin Betances||Manny Banuelos||Jacob Lindgren||Preston Claiborne|
|David Phelps||Shane Greene||Tyler Webb||Mark Montgomery|
|(David Robertson)||Bryan Mitchell||Jose Ramirez|
|Adam Warren||Chase Whitley||Nick Rumbelow|
If we keep in mind that the four/three veterans will be on the 2015 team, we then have room for one long reliever, one lefty, now that Matt Thornton is gone, and one other right-hander. If Robertson ends up leaving then you can probably include a second pitcher from the right-hander category. A bullpen of Robertson, Betances, Phelps, Warren, Whitley, Lindgren, and Rumbelow sounds pretty legitimate to me. If a new reliever is needed you then have a good amount of youth to choose from. Keep in mind that this is just who is currently on the MLB radar, not necessarily the only people who could contribute next season. Chase Whitley was not really on the radar before this year, so we could definitely end up seeing James Pazos or Danny Burawa, or someone else that I'm currently not thinking about. The bottom line is that the Yankees have a ton of young talent that they're developing, and sure, it would be nice if that talent was more dispersed across the diamond, but it's not like there's no one.
Shawn Kelley isn't likely going anywhere so our imaginary bullpen might have to stay just that for one more year, but that doesn't necessarily matter. What matters is that there is all this talent and we're now talking about living, breathing prospects coming up and having an impact on the New York Yankees. Watching Betances has been nice, just think how nice it will be to see more players come up and succeed. Or even just get a chance, really.
For the record, Shane Greene should totally get a shot in the rotation next year, but we'll see. We say this every year. The Yankees have talent, they do, but they need to let it show itself at some point. Let the all-homegrown bullpen be that show-and-tell everyone has been waiting for.