Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Yesterday I said that non-tender likely pitcher John Axford would be a good option for the Yankees in their search to find either a closer or setup man next season, depending on which direction they decide to go with David Robertson.

Personally, I think Robertson should, and will, be the Yankees' No. 1 choice to be the closer next season. Why spend the money to sign a closer when you already have a pitcher that's been on of the best setup in the league for the past few seasons? You don't have to do that. Robertson should close, and the Yankees should instead spend bullpen money on a setup man because, frankly, I don't see a setup man on the roster.

I suppose you could try Shawn Kelley in that role after showing some ability to pitch out of the bullpen last season for the Yankees.

Either way, Axford was non-tendered by the St. Louis Cardinals and now he is a free-agent. If that doesn't work out, then there would be another guy to look at: Right-handed reliever Andrew Bailey, who was non-tendered by the Boston Red Sox.

Bailey, when healthy, is one of the more underrated relievers in the league. He was great a couple of years ago with the Oakland Athletics before being traded to Boston.

Bailey saw limited time with the Red Sox in his two years on the team because of injuries. A labrum tear in his right shoulder knocked him out in 2013 after just 28.2 innings. In two totals years in Boston, his ERA is 4.91 in just over 45 innings.

The first three years of his major league career, all with the Athletics, were much better. His ERA was 2.07 in the three years combined, and he struck out 174 batters in 174 innings, while walking 69. His strikeouts per nine was 9.4 and his walks per nine was 2.8. He was even named AL Rookie of the Year in 2009 after posting a 1.84 ERA in 68 appearances.

Bailey made $4.1 million this past season with the Red Sox, and through the arbitration process, he is expected to make something around that next season, too.

I think no matter who you look at, both Axford and Bailey could be reasonable options for the Yankees, and it certainly wouldn't hurt to take a look at them. Maybe one more than the other, but that would be for Brian Cashman to decided.

Other features on this topic:

Bullpen arm worth watching: John Axford


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