Amid the Joe Girardi re-signing, the Robinson Cano question and holes in the starting rotation, one glaring issue with the New York Yankees’ roster heading into 2014 has been overlooked: the left-handed reliever.
With increased emphasis on individual matchups, baseball has become a game with batter-to-batter pitching changes based on statistical analysis. As a result, having one or two left-handed relievers has become as important as having a shortstop.
The Yankees have followed this trend. They picked up submariner Mike Myers in 2006, whose main job was to get David Ortiz out when they faced the Boston Red Sox. Phil Coke assumed the role of lefty specialist in 2009. His performance in the postseason that year helped the Yankees win a World Series and led to him being traded to the Detroit Tigers for Curtis Granderson.
For the last four years, Boone Logan has been the Yankee lefty-specialist and one of their most reliable relievers. During that time, he was 19-7 out of the pen and he led the league with 80 appearances in 2012. Logan is officially a free agent at the end of this season, but it is unclear whether or not he will return to the Bronx. They could pursue veterans like Javier Lopez or J.P Howell if they do not re-sign him, but the Yankee might not need to resort to free agency.
Cesar Cabral could assume the role of bullpen southpaw. The 24 year old made his MLB debut this year. He pitched 3.2 innings over the course of eight games, allowing one run on three hits with a walk and six strikeouts. Though he’s inexperienced, he has the potential to be a quality reliever, and they might need him to bring stability to a bullpen that is already losing the greatest closer in the history of the game.
Essentially, it comes down to whether the Yankees want to spend money for the safer option or take a chance on a young, homegrown arm. Personally, I’d go with the latter and spend the money elsewhere.