One of the most frustrating and unpredictable tasks for an MLB GM is to build a quality bullpen. Most of the time, bullpens are a crapshoot and the team is forced to just cross their fingers in hopes that their bullpen holds up. Each of the recent World Series Champions have had one common asset-- a good bullpen.
With the deepest pockets in the sport, the New York Yankees seem to be the most well-equipped to assemble the best bullpen. If only it were that simple.
Dating back to 2004, the Yankees have tried to reassemble the strong bullpens of their glory days by signing free agents and trading for the latest star reliever but have been tremendously disappointed with their investments thus far.
The table below charts some of the acquisitions the Yankees have made in recent years and their ERA before their stint with the Yankee and the following year's ERA.
Traded in Season
One thing should jump out at you: most of these guys posted excellent years in the National League. Octavio Dotel is the only one on this list that came directly from an American League club but even he had experienced great success in the National League.
It’s common knowledge that the National League has never been a good barometer for American League success but apparently, the Yankees haven’t learned to look elsewhere.
Damaso Marte is the latest example of a “can’t-miss” NL reliever that has, so far, proven to be a poor acquisition. Normally, I’d refrain from analyzing an acquisition so early but he’s been extraordinarily terrible for the Yankees that he has to be included on this list.
As you can see, it’s time the Yankees stopped plucking relief pitchers off of National League teams in exchange for prospects when they’d be better off building from within. It’s far too costly to spend millions to acquire the riskiest commodity in the game and watch them all fail.