I rip on George King frequently, so I feel that it is necessary to acknowledge when he makes a fair point. This is what he said today about the Yankees bullpen:
But the biggest question was the bullpen, because outside of Marte, there wasn’t a lot of experience.
Bruney is being asked to work as Rivera’s set-up man, something he has never done. Albaladejo had 21 games in the big leagues when he relieved Sabathia on Monday. Coke had 12 games when he took over for Albaladejo.
Bruney checked in with 186 games, but never more than the 58 he logged as a Yankee in 2007. Edwar Ramirez, who wasn’t used Monday, has 76 games in two big-league seasons.
While I do not think that the bullpen was the largest question mark, I do see King’s point. While I like the bullpen, and have been trumpeting its praises all year, it is fair to have some doubts coming off of spring training, particularly concerning Brian Bruney and Damaso Marte.
Bruney has been known to overthrow, and looked poor for most of spring training. In regard to Marte, while he does have a much better track record than some give him credit for, he has shown enough problems in terms of getting the ball over the plate to be a concern. The rest of the bullpen is fairly inexperienced. While it is easy for us to say that Mark Melancon and David Robertson could just step in and succeed if those guys implode, that is not a guarantee.
Ultimately, I like this Yankee pen. Coke actually looked much better than his results, and Albaladejo looked strong. Meanwhile, Bruney does have a 3.00 ERA as a Yankee, and Marte has been a good reliever for a long time. Veras, Edwar, and the kids are all good options, and this bullpen as a whole was excellent last year. That being said, considering the volatility in bullpens from season to season, it is fair to have some doubts about each player in that pen. I would like to point out here that Hideki Okajima and Justin Masterson combined to allow two runs yesterday, showing that even the bullpen that has strangely been deemed the best in baseball can have a bad day. The Yankees have a good relief corps, and it is very early to panic. But questions were fair even before Monday’s implosion.
What do you think? Are you confident with the current bullpen? Or are you Wally Matthews and think the Yankees having Joba in the rotation is worse than a DUI?
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