After last night’s game, we learned that Rafael Soriano plans to see the Yankee team doctor about his elbow. The hits just keep on coming, don’t they Yankee fans? So, what does Soriano’s likely trip to the disabled list do for the Yankees and the bullpen
First and foremost, I think we’ll see the eighth inning look like we thought it would before the Soriano trade: Joba Joba Joba. When Soriano hasn’t been available, Joe Girardi has gone to Joba Chamberlain for the set up role and I don’t think that’s going to change much. He and David Robertson will continue to get the bulk of the high leverage innings/situations.
Boone Logan will obviously continue to occupy the LOOGY role while Luis Ayala does the mop up stuff. Hopefully, the Yankees remember that Hector Noesi exists and he shifts into the long man role. If Soriano does indeed hit the disabled list, the team could opt to call up another reliever, such as Ryan Pope since he’s already on the 40-man roster, but that would leave the team with just a three man bench, which is undesirable. I could see them having Pope and Amaury Sanit switch places and have someone like Greg Golson, Justin Maxwell, or Chris Dickerson come up. That situation could play out depending on how the Yankees handle the Jorge Posada/DH situation in the coming days.
If I’m in charge, I probably do the latter option: strengthen the bench and keep the pitching staff at 12 men. The likelihood of utilizing a fourth bench player is higher than the likelihood of utilizing another minor league arm. Even in blowouts, the Yankees could just ride someone like Ayala into the ground and cut him loose when he’s served his purpose.
2011 is starting to look like a big disappointment for Rafael Soriano, who hasn’t performed all that well to this point. Now, he’s going to miss even more time. This year is quickly heading down the proverbial tubes for him. Luckily, the bullpen has still performed well (best relief FIP in the AL going into last night, most RP fWAR) without Soriano’s best efforts. His loss will tax the relievers in terms of workload, though, and that’s the biggest issue. Hopefully, they can weather the storm with some stronger starting pitching and a few blowout wins.
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