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Covering the Bases for the Yankees in 2017: The Bullpen

Yankees pitchers and catchers report to Tampa on Feb. 14 with one of the most formidable bullpens in all of Major League Baseball.

The AL East champion Red Sox are primed to capture titles now with young stars Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. behind a nasty rotation including Chris Sale and Cy Young Award winners Rick Porcello and David Price.

Yankees Bullpen has Potential

By comparison the Yankees one through five aren’t horrible. Collectively, they’re about average. It’s the bullpen set to rival 2016’s “No Runs DMC” comprised of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Champman that has higher expectations to keep pace with Boston.

After Miller was dealt to Cleveland, and Chapman to the Cubs, (both making meaningful contributions in the World Series) Betances was overworked in his elevated load. With the return of Chapman, the benefactor of the biggest free-agent contract ever handed out to a reliever, Betances will settle into a bullpen along with Tyler Clippard, Tommy Layne and Chasen Shreve to close out the innings.

The Yankees added a major piece to their bullpen when they brought back Chapman on an $86 million contract. He threw 48 of the fastest 49 pitches in the major leagues this year, according to MLB’s Statcast, getting up to a blistering 105.1 mph. His average velocity of 100.9 mph was No. 1 of all pitchers. Behind a solid nucleus to set him up, Chapman should be a dominant closer in Major League Baseball during the 2017 season.

FanGraphs’ projections for 2017 have the Yankees on the bubble of the playoffs with an 83-79 record. A range that would not motivate GM Brian Cashman to make additional bullpen acquisitions beyond Chapman. “You’d have to be one piece away, and I would not recommend that type of decision-making as we approach the 2017 season,” he said of the possibility of making any big trades, per ESPN.com. “I think that would be a dangerous approach.”

Beyond Xs and Os, Chapman’s journey to, from and back to the Yankees started with a 30 game suspension stemming from a horrific domestic violence charge. The police report details gun shots being fired and the choking of the mother of his child who ended up hiding behind bushes to escape the violence. The Yankees will win a few more games next season thanks to Chapman, but he’s not the missing piece. More importantly, it’s been a while since he’s settled into a full season where he can be depended on to make good decisions on and off the field.

Who would you go after if you’re Brian Cashman? Let us know in the comments!

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The Sportsnista

Hello, folks! I'm “The Sportsnista”, a woman who is a fan as much as a student of many sports. I’m a mom, a writer, and a fool for free samples. Born and raised in a small town in upstate New York where I had chickens, hogs and a backyard garden, I grew up watching and listening to games on the radio. I’m a New Yorker, so yes, I’m a Yankee fan who also happens to bleed Carolina blue.

I try to keep posts high on smarts and low on snark. Sometimes, I meet the bar I set for myself, and sometimes I just don’t. After all, life isn’t practice, it’s the greatest game of all.

Covering the Bases for the Yankees in 2017: The Bullpen

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