Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Last Bullpen Spots
The Yankees currently have 14 relievers in camp with them: Mariano Rivera, Joba Chamberlain, Kyle Farnsworth, Darrell Rasner, Latroy Hawkins, Jonathan Albaladejo, Brian Bruney, Sean Henn, Kei Igawa, Jeff Karstens, Ross Ohlendorf, Scott Patterson, Edwar Ramirez, Billy Traber, and Jose Veras. Of them, only Rivera, Chamberlain, Farnsworth and Hawkins are guaranteed roster spots, leaving the remaining 9 guys for 3 spots. The Yankees are likely to take a lefty, and their options are Traber, who has been nearly perfect this Spring, Henn, who isn't even serviceable and Igawa, who has not fared particularly well against left-handed hitters this Spring, or against anyone in 2007. Traber should get the nod here. Next, there is the spot for the long reliever, in which the competition centers on Karstens, Rasner and once again, Igawa. Neither of these options are particularly enticing but with the need to limit the innings of starters Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, the presence of a long reliever is necessary. However, Rasner has demonstrated some ability in the past and appears to have the most upside among the three choices, so he should get this spot. Finally, there is one last spot, without any particular prerequisites other than the ability to get people out. Of the remaining relievers, Patterson and Ross Ohlendorf have stood out against the others. Patterson has yet to allow a run in his 6 innings and has struck out 6 batters this Spring, while Ohlendorf has given up just 2 runs this Spring, but has allowed 11 hits in 7.2 innings. Upon review of last season's numbers for each pitcher, it appears that Patterson deserves this job, while Ohlendorf could work a little more in the bullpen at triple-A, but should be among the first to be called up when an extra reliever is necessary.