Joe Girardi doesn't seem to care what the Yankee officials think when it comes to managing his team, especially the bullpen. While Hank Steinbrenner's comments have sparked debate about Joba Chamberlain's future, it is a different on-going mindset that might end up having a greater effect on the Yankee bullpen.
The Yankees are currently paying Kyle Farnsworth and LaTroy Hawkins a combined $9.65 million this season. On many teams this simple fact would dictate the manager using these players as the main bullpen arms.
However, in this young season, Yankees manager Joe Girardi has been able to look past the expectations and investments of the front office and use on-field performance to dictate the roles in the bullpen.
Here's a quick run down of some of the key arms in the Yankees' bullpen, including how many of their appearances occurred when the game was between (and including) the Yankees trailing by one run and winning by three runs, a pretty good indicator of how much a manager trusts his relievers.
Kyle Farnsworth - 2/7 appearances when 1 ≤ lead ≤ 3, 4.32 ERA, 1.56 WHIP
LaTroy Hawkins - 2/7 appearances, 9.64 ERA, 1.82 WHIP
Ross Ohlendorf - 2/7 appearances, 3.77 ERA, 1.26 WHIP
Billy Traber - 3/8 appearances, 2.57 ERA, 1.29 WHIP
Joba Chamberlain - 4/6 appearances, 1.42 ERA, 1.11 WHIP
Brian Bruney - 6/8 appearances, 1.64 ERA, 1.00 WHIP
All Yankee fans have to be happy with the emergence of Bruney and the way he has been used. He has been one the most effective relievers, and his improvement may be legitimate due to some lifestyle changes.
He has seized the secondary set-up role from Hawkins and Farnsworth, which shows that Girardi isn't hesitant to trust the pitchers with the lower ERAs, not the higher contracts, and that's a great sign for the Yankees.