The 2018 offseason has been one of almost universal inaction. It might be hard to see that after the Yankees acquired Giancarlo Stanton, but things have been historically bad. We’re now approaching labor dispute-bad, with the players and agents unhappy with how owners have treated available talent. It isn’t normal to see so many MLB players on the free agent market just days away from the start of spring training. Though the Yankees are trying to get under the luxury tax threshold, they do have the money to take advantage of this slow market.
It’s no surprise that the Yankees have a fantastic bullpen, but it could get even better at an incredibly cheap price. As things stand now, we know that Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, David Robertson, and Tommy Kahnle are going to be in the bullpen. Then you likely have Adam Warren and Chad Green in there as well, if Green isn’t converted into a starter like some have suggested. That would leave one spot open for someone from spring training to make the team.
What if, instead of going that route, the Yankees looked to the free agent market for the deal of a lifetime. There are still many bullpen options out there, however, guys like Greg Holland and Tony Watson are more likely to wait out for multi-year contracts. Others may not be capable of waiting so long. Some are either coming off a down year or have injury concerns that will suppress their value. Maybe the Yankees should go fishing on the cheap for another arm.
Having long since lost his role as a closer, Sergio Romo is still a talented reliever who could come cheap in this market. He made just $3 million with the Dodgers in 2017, which is something the Yankees can very much afford to pay. Things didn’t work out for him in LA after he racked up a 6.12 ERA in 25 innings, but a move to the AL East seemed to fix everything. After heading over to the Rays, he pitched to a 1.47 ERA while cutting his walk rate in half. The Yankees certainly have enough right-handed pitching, but this is a price tag you can’t ignore
On the left-handed side of things is Robbie Ross, who still has another year of team control. He was an effective reliever for the Red Sox in 2015 and 2016, but a back injury put him out of commission last season. It was bad enough that Boston cut ties with him, but if he can regain his form, he could become a valuable piece in the Yankees bullpen. If he can be signed to a minor league deal with high incentives, it makes a lot of sense.
Another lefty is a pitcher named Kevin Siegrist. He’s not someone that most people know, but he’s been effective in the past with two sub-3.00 ERA seasons. Things weren’t great in 2017, considering he was stricken by several injuries and his fly ball tendencies might not work for Yankee Stadium. He still has two more seasons before free agency, so he could be worth a shot.
Looking a little further down the line, Trevor Rosenthal could be someone who makes sense for the Yankees. He underwent Tommy John surgery last year and is expected to miss the 2018 season, but Rosenthal could be someone to keep around for the future. He’s a former closer and only 27, so there could still be some upside to him. Considering David Robertson will be gone after this year, it could be worthwhile to sign Rosenthal to a two-year deal now and hope he offers value later.
Do the Yankees need any of these guys right now? Of course not. However, if this is the way the market is going to be, they might as well spend the money they have on something.