After spending close to $500 million on talent this offseason, it's easy to assume that the New York Yankees are a finished product heading into the 2014 season.
Unfortunately for their fans, that's far from the case.
While the talent infusion of Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran and Masahiro Tanaka is impressive, the team still has holes to fill before the season begins. If they stand pat, an 86-89-win team should surface on paper. While better than their 2013 outfit, the 2014 Yankees would still project to be on the outside of the AL postseason picture.
Outside of the lottery tickets currently slotted into second and third base, the most obvious area of need in New York resides in the bullpen.
With Mariano Rivera off to retirement, the back end of the Yankees bullpen is in doubt for the first time in nearly two full decades. Recently, team owner Hal Steinbrenner told Joel Sherman of the New York Post that David Robertson, Rivera's set-up man since 2010, is going to be the closer.
Even if the 28-year-old succeeds, depth behind him is an issue. If Robertson fails, the bullpen could be a disaster, relegating a deep, talented everyday lineup to mediocrity in the AL East standings.
During Steinbrenner's aforementioned conversation about Robertson, he acknowledged that the team can't be perfect in every facet:
I have a lot of confidence in Robertson and so does Joe Girardi. Robertson is going to be our closer, and I believe he will do a good job. We have done a lot to improve our team and we just have to understand that you cannot be perfect everywhere.
The following options aren't perfect, but they represent an upgrade. For a team teetering on the edge of postseason contention, a big season from a veteran reliever could be enough to send the Yankees back to October.