Monday, February 24, 2014

The Yankees have been trying to make an effort lately -- not much, but still and effort -- to improve their bullpen with key relievers like Mariano Rivera and Boone Logan gone from last season.

On Saturday, they cam to terms on a minor league deal with Andrew Bailey, who won't even be able to pitch until late in the season, possibly August or September, according to GM Brian Cashman, and they could be setting their sites on another possible late-inning reliever.

Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports that the Yankees are keeping an eye on another former Red Sox reliever, Joel Hanrahan, who is also working his way back from surgery.

Martino writes:

The Yankees also continue to monitor another former All-Star, Joel Hanrahan, who underwent Tommy John last year (the Mets have also watched him throw a bullpen session). If Robertson is successful, a player like Hanrahan would probably serve as a setup man.
All of this might end up being due diligence, but it underscores that even internally, the Yankees understand their bullpen is thin, a potential weakness that could undermine some of their improvements in other areas, like the rotation and lineup.

Hanrahan underwent Tommy John on May 16th of last year, and it's very possible that he could be ready to pitch in the majors as some point in the first half of the season, and that could be a big deal.

David Robertson is the leading, and only, candidate to assume the closer role from the now retired Rivera, and Shawn Kelley appears the be the front-runner to replace Robertson as the setup man. Ideally, the Yankees would like Bailey to be healthy at the end of the season to help give a boost to the back-end of the bullpen, and Hanrahan can do the same thing, but much earlier in the season.

Hanrahan, 32, has a career 3.85 ERA, and can be very lethal on the mound when healthy. He only pitched 7 1/3 innings for Boston in 2013 before bring shutdown.

I'm not saying that they need to do everything they can to sign this guy, but bringing him in on a minor league deal can be another low-risk, high reward signing that the Yankees really like to bank on.


Gavin Ewbank is the Lead Writer of Yanks Beat Blog, and you can follow him on Twitter @GavinEwbank.


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