No player can ever get enough of wearing the pinstripes and bringing back some former relievers might spell success for the 2017 New York Yankees.
The holidays are fast approaching, which means that baseball season is lurking just around the corner. So far, the New York Yankees have made moves to strengthen the back end of their bullpen and provide a full-time DH to compliment the youthful power in their line-up.
But there is still some work to do to transform this squad into a group of contenders. One of those main things is bolstering the bullpen, most specifically the middle relief. My colleagues have been discussing in the past few weeks about potential fits for a sagging middle relief and the names of some former Yankees have popped up.
While most would be opposed, if you look at the statistics, it tends to work out favorably for the Yankees, especially recently. Bringing back former pitchers has proven to be a key component in last year’s Yankees squad.
Tyler Clippard was called up by the Yankees in 2007 for six starts. Showing promise, he compiled a 3-1 record. However, that was overshadowed by his less-than-stellar 6.33 ERA and his embarrassing 18:17 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Upon his trade to the Washington Nationals, Clippard fared far better.
With All-Star appearances in 2011 and 2014, Clippard boosted his repertoire away from the Yankees and found himself back in the Bronx spotlight in August of 2016. His return to the Bronx was exactly what both the Yankees and Clippard needed.
Clippard, who was taken in the ninth round of the 2003 amateur draft by New York, appeared in 29 games and struck out 26 batters while holding a 2.49 ERA in his second stint with the Yankees.
The righty is not the only one who has left the Bronx and found his stride, only to return to play a huge role for the Yankees in recent times.
Adam Warren essentially did the same thing just last season, after a short-term loan to the Chicago Cubs. Upon his return, Warren turned a corner and became a reliable piece in a bullpen riddled with holes.
If these two are any indication, it might be a good idea for the Yankees to seek out some of their former pitchers to fill the holes. They’ve played in New York before and know all that comes with that challenge. Even better, they’ve had some time to mature and expand on their strengths and talents.
If Warren and Clippard can overcome early career struggles, there is a good chance some other pitchers who have left New York could return and make a difference.
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Lefty specialist Boone Logan comes to mind. He spent four seasons with the Yankees and compiled decent numbers from the ‘pen. While struggling since his departure to Colorado, bringing him back to the place he’s been most comfortable in his career would benefit the Yankees, and Boone, greatly.
Another potential is Justin Wilson. One season in New York provided mediocre numbers, appearing in 74 games with a 3.10 ERA. Like Logan, his transfer to another city (Detroit) proved to be worse off for him, where he had a 4.14 ERA.
There are far more options too. David Robertson could potentially come back to the Bronx. Ivan Nova is a long-shot, but could also make a return. These pitchers may not have had great first runs with the Yankees but getting a second chance could be just what pushes the Yankees towards the playoffs – despite popular belief.
Of course, these moves might never happen. Sometimes one stint with the Yankees is enough. However, recent history shows that letting these players develop prior to calling them back for a second chance might be a positive move for this upcoming season.