The New York Yankees’ bullpen is undergoing a massive transition. Mariano Rivera is retired. Joba Chamberlain is a free agent and is all but gone from the Yankees. Boone Logan is a free agent. Right now, the Yankees bullpen has David Robertson, Shawn Kelley and a lot of young arms. One wild card in the bullpen is 31-year-old Matt Daley.
Daley pitched in seven games for the Yankees, a tiny sample. However, in those seven games he pitched six innings and allowed only two hits, no runs and struck out eight while not allowing a walk. It was Daley’s first MLB game time since 2011 when he appeared in seven games for the Colorado Rockies before undergoing shoulder surgery.
Daley’s numbers aren’t overly impressive. He owns a career ERA of 4.38 but a respectable 1.27 WHIP in 86.1 career innings. All but seven of his career innings came in the unfriendly confines of Coors Field so it really isn’t fair to judge Daley on those numbers.
As it stands right now, the Yankees’ bullpen could consist of Preston Claiborne, Dellin Betances, Cesar Cabral and one or two arms that lose out on the final rotation spot, or spots. Claiborne had some nice moments last season but faltered a bit down the stretch. Betances, a former top prospect, is out of options and will be given every chance to win a spot in the bullpen since his days as a starter are likely behind him. Cabral could be the lefty specialist if Logan isn’t brought back and the Yankees fail to sign a free agent replacement. Adam Warren is likely to either take a more prominent role in the bullpen or be the long man out of the pen.
There are a few openings and Daley is a veteran who could have a leg up on some of the younger arms. Joe Girardi seemed to trust Daley down the stretch and gave him a few high-leverage innings. Granted, Daley pitched mostly in losses but they were still important innings and that can’t be ignored. Daley could be in line to get a chance to become a vital arm in the Yankees’ bullpen. At the very least he should be in the mix for a spot and could be worth keeping an eye on as the battle unfolds this spring.