Monday was the non-tender deadline and a total of 40 players were given the boot by their respective teams. The Yankees need bullpen help now that Mariano Rivera has retired and Boone Logan is a free agent. While they do have internal candidates, there aren't any guarantees to help make up for the talent they lost. There are seven free agents who could help the Yankees in 2014, and maybe even beyond that, it would just take a small leap of faith.
Scott Atchison (RHP) - While nothing spectacular, he could be a solid addition to the bullpen. He's had a history of elbow injuries, though he's never required Tommy John surgery. He had a bone spur removed last season, so surgery could have been responsible for his unimpressive 2013 season with the Mets. In 2011 and 2012, he had a 2.42 ERA and a 2.71 FIP, which is what the Yankees would hope he can repeat. While he does struggle somewhat against lefties, he has maintained a 1.72 BB/9 against right-handed batters in his career. He's projected to make $1.3 million in his second go-around in arbitration, but the 37-year-old could easily be had on a minor league deal well below that price.
John Axford (RHP) - Before 2012, Axford could be considered an elite reliever. He had a 2.21 ERA and 2.27 FIP across his first two full seasons, but his career has taken a nosedive since. Over the last two years he's had a 4.34 ERA and 4.20 FIP without even an injury to blame. While he's always struggled with control (4.05 BB/9), he has dominated with the strikeout (10.82 K/9). He has a good ground ball rate (46.9%), though that has been dropping slowly, and while his fly ball rate hasn't risen consistently, his HR/FB rate has shot up from 4.2%, in 2010 and 2011, to 18.2% over the last two seasons. He's a Super Two, so he's already made $5 million in 2013, however he isn't worth his projected $5.7 million in arbitration until he can prove he's still the pitcher he used to be. He could be worth a shot if he can be signed for $3 million at the most.
Andrew Bailey (RHP) - Bailey has been limited by injury throughout his career, but when he's healthy he's a force in the backend of the bullpen. He has a career 2.64 ERA and 3.13 FIP, but he hasn't pitched a full season since his rookie season in 2009. Unfortunately, he tore the capsule in his shoulder this season and he might never be the same again. If the Yankees decide to go after him, they can't expect him to be healthy. He's a free agent after 2014, so it could make sense to try and sign the 29-year-old to a $1 million deal over two seasons, like they did with David Aardsma. Let him work himself back to health and if he contributes, great, if not, he won't cost much to cut.
Daniel Bard (RHP) - Poor Daniel Bard was looking to be the future closer of the Red Sox until he was transitioned to the rotation out of desperation. He hasn't been the same since and it's hard to tell if there's some kind of undiagnosed injury or if it's all mental. He had a 2.97 ERA and 3.23 FIP through his first three seasons, but he hasn't had an ERA or FIP under five at any level since. The Cubs tried to work with him this offseason, but I guess they didn't see much of an improvement, so they cut him and his projected $1.8 million arbitration salary. He's still just 28, and if the Yankees sign him to a minor league deal, perhaps they can be the ones to fix him before he finds himself out of baseball. It would be really nice to have the pitcher he used to be in the back of the bullpen for the next few years.
Ronald Belisario (RHP) - After being surprisingly non-tendered by the Dodgers, Belisario could bring solid depth to the Yankees' bullpen. He has kept a 3.25 ERA and 3.36 FIP over the last two seasons, has maintained a ground ball rate over 60% for the last three seasons, and has been able to limit home runs to a rate of 0.54 HR/9. He's still just 30 years old, so he might end up making a good portion of his projected $2.3 million salary in 2014.
Ryan Webb (RHP) - The Marlins right-hander is a ground ball pitcher (57.4%) who had a solid year with a 2.91 ERA and 3.60 FIP this season. He has a 21.8% fly ball rate that will play up in Yankee Stadium, and, though he lacks high strikeout rates (6.26 K/9) and low walk rates (3.16 BB/9), he has remained relatively healthy in his career. He is arbitration eligible for the second time and was projected to make $1.5 million, though he'd likely agree to a lesser contract.
Wesley Wright (LHP) - If the Yankees need a LOOGY, Wright might be someone the Yankees should pursue. He has a 10.42 K/9 and a 2.93 FIP against left-handed batters, though he seems to be nuclear waste against righties, as he has a 5.75 FIP against them. He has a 54.1% ground ball rate over the last three years and his fly ball rates have dropped below 30% over the last two, however it seems that when it gets in the air, it's a home run, seeing as how he has a career 15.4% HR/FB rate. Thankfully, that rate is inflated due to his use against righties (18.7% vs. right-handed hitters), so keeping him away from those match ups is key. He was projected to make $1.4 million in arbitration this year at the age of 28, but that's a small price to pay compared to what Javier Lopez ended up getting.
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