With the news being released that Mariano Rivera will likely make his Spring debut on Monday, I thought it would be a good time to assess the state of the Yankees bullpen depth chart. Trying to divine who might be one of the seven relievers to go north is difficult, being that there have been a number of strong performers and that the Yankees have not been clear as to what they want to do in terms of lefties and long relievers.
1) Mariano Rivera- Obviously, he is a lock when healthy.
2) Damaso Marte- Likely to be used as part of an 7th and 8th inning platoon with a righty, with Marte taking, but not limited to, the tough lefties.
3) Brian Bruney- Will get the first crack at splitting the 8th with Marte.
4) Jose Veras- Likely to be right behind Bruney for the late inning righty role.
5) Phil Coke- With Marte acting as a set-up man, Coke will be needed as the situational lefty who can also face righties.
6) David Robertson- He showed flashes of brilliance last season, and has looked strong thus far.
7) Jon Albaladejo- He can go multiple innings, as can the four relievers before him. This allows the Yankees to take their seven best relievers north rather than choosing any of the currently weak crop of long relievers.
8 ) Edwar Ramirez- If Edwar shows himself to be healthy upon his return, he will make the team.
9) Brett Tomko- If the Yankees go with a long reliever, he has been the best.
10) Mark Melancon- He will be with the team by June, but the fact that he has not faced MLB caliber hitters yet suggests that the team is not going to rush him.
11 & 12) Al Aceves and Dan Giese- Were the favorites for long relief, but both have been bad.
13, 14, 15) Steven Jackson, Mike Dunn, Anthony Claggett- In previous seasons, they would be contenders for jobs. The Yankees have too many options ahead of them to make the club right out of camp.
16) Kei Igawa- His scary track record and lack of a spot on the 40 man roster means that he has no shot of making the roster, no matter how well he pitches.
Did I leave anyone out? Would you change the order?
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