In the wake of the David Carpenter DFA decision, the biggest question facing the Yankees was what they were going to do to replace him as one of their regular middle relievers. The bullpen is currently very low in right-handed relievers, with only Dellin Betances and Esmil Rogers remaining. We saw what happens when Rogers gets a shot at filling Carpenter's shoes and it wasn't good, so the question still stands. What are the Yankees going to do to make up for that lack of reliable righty middle relief? If you go back and look at how the bullpen work has been divvied up over the last 2 weeks or so, the Yanks may have already figured out the answer to that question. As expected, the answer lies not in replacing the lost righty relief but rather in using the high number of lefty relievers in the 'pen to soak up the extra innings. Justin Wilson and Chasen Shreve have both seen themselves move up in the pecking order lately and they've responded well. Wilson has made 7 appearances since a stinker outing on 5/24 and his line in those outings is as follows:
- 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 3 Holds
Shreve has appeared in 6 games in that same timeframe and his total line looks like this:
- 7.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K, 1 Hold
Keeping runners off base, limiting damage when entering with inherited runners, and preventing runs. That's what a good middle reliever is supposed to do and that's what these 2 have done since the last week of May. Their appearances have come in games and situations of varying leads and leverages, but they have responded well and seemingly earned some of Joe's trust ahead of his dynamic late-game duo. Wilson was the first man out of the 'pen in the last 2 games of the Anaheim series and protected a close lead yesterday, and Shreve was lights out in relief of Eovaldi on Friday night when that game was still within reach.
There is still a big need for another reliable righty arm in the 'pen, there's no question about that. Rogers clearly isn't the answer and his days are probably numbered regardless of how positively Joe speaks about him. But Wilson and Shreve have shown themselves to be capable of doing what Carpenter was unable to do and could be looked at as potential options to fill that regular middle relief role. I expect we'll see Joe give them some higher-leverage work in the games to come.