Since designating David Carpenter for assignment, the Yankees are down to right-handers Dellin Betances and Esmil Rogers in the major league bullpen. Having five left-handed relievers sounds excessive, but at least they're the best arms the team has for the moment. However, it would be useful to have at least one more right-handed arm that can pitch in high-leverage situations, and Brian Cashman seems to agree.
In a radio interview on Thursday, the Yankees GM talked about the bullpen needs of the team and who they might be looking at to fill the void left by Carpenter:
"We lined up a lot of moves this winter to give ourselves a really deep bullpen. Some of which have really paid dividends. Others, recently with the designation of David Carpenter, haven't. So, I need to probably find a right-handed arm. Not probably, I do need to find a right-handed arm for the bullpen here at some point. We have Miller, Betances, Wilson, Shreve, Lindgren, Capuano and Esmil Rogers as the long man.
"Really, outside of Dellin Betances there's only one right-handed arm out there and he's the long man, so I've got a number of lefties out there in Wilson and Shreve and Lindgren that all can get righties out. At least that's the benefit of those guys, so it's not as much of a pressing issued, but I certainly would love to get an arm that Carpenter I think is, but it's just not here in New York."
Out of all the internal options they currently have, Cashman specifically mentioned Diego Moreno and Nick Rumbelow; two prospects who are not currently on the 40-man roster. Since the 40 currently stands at 38, either pitcher could be added before Brendan Ryan and Ivan Nova return from the 60-day disabled list. Otherwise, Bryan Mitchell, Jose Ramirez, Branden Pinder, Danny Burawa, and Chris Martin could be the easier big league additions. Adam Warren could also end up in the bullpen in a few weeks if Nova proves to be healthy and effective.
Despite the internal options the Yankees might have, they don't currently have a high-leverage right-handed reliever waiting to be plugged into the back of the bullpen. For one of those, they will have to look outside the organization. The only problem is that it's way too early to be shopping for legitimate bullpen pieces and it's unlikely Cashman would want to give up much when he has so many options in Triple-A anyway. It would seem that his only course of action, if he were to go this route, would be to go dumpster diving for some kind of useful reliever.
Right now their options are incredibly limited with David Aardsma recently opting out of his minor league deal with the Dodgers and Ernesto Frieri (who is horrible) getting designated for assignment by the Rays. Other free agent options include Brian Wilson (ugh!), who will only cost the league minimum, and the increasingly more compelling Rafael Soriano, who is still unsigned and might be worth a shot at the right price. Maybe.
The trade market is just as slim with so few teams ready to give up their valuable pieces that could end up being worth something at the deadline. At this time, maybe the Yankees could pry a pending free agent away from only a handful of clubs–the Athletics have Tyler Clippard, the Indians have Ryan Webb, the Diamondbacks have Brad Ziegler, and the Phillies have Jonathan Papelbon (!!!), whose vesting option for 2016 can be avoided if they don't allow him to close out games. Beyond that, the Yankees might have to settle for what they already have, at least for another month.
No matter who comes in to offer some assistance against righty hitters, the Yankees don't need both Esmil Rogers and Chris Capuano. If everyone in the rotation looks to be healthy, Brian Cashman should be looking for a way to get the 36-year-old left-hander off the team. They could probably do without Esmil as well. They already tried to make things right with the DFAing of David Carpenter, so why waste space on another lefty who doesn't actually offer anything over the others. While it might not be an issue just yet, the Yankees will eventually need a reliable right-handed middle reliever. Regardless of who they add or how they come across him, they need to keep improving the team by addition and by subtraction.