As the season draws to a close, eyes start looking towards 2015. One question heading into the offseason is David Robertson’s free agency. The team’s stubborn stance of not negotiating contracts until after the season may bite them again. Robertson has been an elite setup man and now closer. As we’ve seen with other free agents, one team is always willing to come in and overpay to get a player. I believe someone will do that in this situation as well. What makes the Yankees less inclined to do this is that they have Dellin Betances waiting in the wings. During the Hal Steinbrenner Era, the team is more calculating in looking at the luxury tax ramifications and with the team having other holes, re-signing Robertson is starting to look like less and less likely to me. With that said, let’s look at some bullpen options going into next year.
Tyler Webb – Triple-A
Webb was specifically mentioned by GM Brian Cashman as a lefty bullpen option once Matt Thornton was let go. Webb is a big 6’6" lefty featuring a low-90’s fastball and a quality curveball. Across three levels he pitched to a 2.35 FIP and 12.3 K/9.
Nick Rumbelow – Triple-A
Nick Rumbelow is a power arm drafted in the seventh round of the 2013 draft. He climbed four levels this season and now is knocking on the big league door. Rumbelow sports a mid-90’s fastball and a strikeout curve that he used to record 81 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings.
Jose Ramirez – Triple-A
The often injured righty will once again look to make the big club in spring training. Ramirez showed strikeout stuff with a 9.3 K/9, but was wild as evidenced by his 6.3 BB/9 on the big league club. Stuff has never been the question; health and command continue to be.
Dan Burawa - Triple-A
Burawa will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft this December, if he's not placed on the 40-man roster. I believe that he will be protected, as the team made a mistake last year not protecting Tommy Kahnle who flourished with the Rockies. His slider and fastball are dominant, but his command is below-average. Back in August, Brian Cashman told reporters "We’ve seen that before with a guy like Dellin Betances. It’s trying to harness that physicality and channel it, and we are hoping that down the line all those pieces fall into place eventually." Look for Burawa to get a look in spring training.
Jacob Lindgren – Double-A
The 2014 second rounder flew through the system, ending the year at Double-A Trenton. Lindgren, armed with a MLB-ready slider and mid-90’s fastball, embarrassed minor league hitters. He finished the year with an absurd 17.3 K/9.
The Yankees continue playing to their strength of drafting and developing bullpen arms. There’s a good chance we could see a mostly home grown bullpen in 2015. Out of this group of relievers, which one will emerge as the next Robertson or Betances?
Stats courtesy of Fangraphs.com and baseball-reference.com