In White Sox, the Yankees of course landed third baseman/first baseman Todd Frazier, and they also fortified the bullpen with right-handers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle. Speaking of the bullpen, that deal yields the following possible arrangement for manager Joe Girardi ...with the
We know what Chapman and Betances can do when they're right. Robertson is putting up his best numbers since his first Yankees tenure, and Kahnle has struck out 60 batters in 36 innings this season. As for Warren, he boasts a 1.82 ERA and 3.90 K/BB ratio with only one home run allowed all season. Suffice it to say, that has the potential to be a lockdown relief quintet.
That seeming surfeit of relievers led Fox's Ken Rosenthal to wonder aloud thus ...
Maybe it's all talk, but the Yankees are adamant that they do not want to trade their top prospects, the ones who are closest to the majors or already on their club. Robertson could replace Betances as the setup man for closer Aroldis Chapman. And with Kahnle, the Yankees' bullpen still would be deeper than before.
Rosenthal is suggesting that the Yankees might shop Betances as the centerpiece of a deal that fortifies the rotation. That would certainly be a defensible next move, especially if it allows them to add a rotation piece without dipping deeply into their prospect reserves.
The Yankee rotation right now ranks a very respectable fourth in the AL in rotation ERA and fourth in rotation WAR. That said, Michael Pineda will miss the rest of the season and then some after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and 23-year-old Luis Severino, who leads the team in innings, may experience fatigue-related decline at some point. Thus, the motivation to add a starter before July 31.
On the other hand, even after adding a starter the Yankees would remain relative longshots to catch the Red Sox in the AL East. They could certainly improve their odds of capturing a wild card berth with a reinforced rotation, but at the same time such rare bullpen depth would allow them to paper over some weaknesses in the rotation.
As well, there's the notion of allowing Girardi to manage this team in the playoffs with five frontline relievers at his disposal. As we saw last October, bullpens matter more than ever when it comes to postseason play, and the Yankees -- assuming they make it -- are very well-positioned on that front. Beyond all that, this new depth would allow them to pump the brakes a bit on Chapman and Betances and perhaps allow their recent issues to resolve.
It's not certain how GM Brian Cashman and his fellow brass will move forward. However, they're presented with two options that should tantalize Yankee partisans -- leverage this newfound bullpen depth to make another big trade or let this "super bullpen" do its work down the stretch. Either one should make for compelling viewing.