Written By: Matt Vereb

Heading into Spring Training, the New York Yankees seemingly had their bullpen set. The Yankees had 7 relief arms(Rivera, Marte, Aceves, Robertson, Mitre, Gaudin, and (Hughes or Joba). However, Cash Money threw us all for a loop when he unexpectedly signed free agent reliever, Chan Ho Park.

Let’s assume that 4 of 7 spots are locked down(Rivera, Robertson, Marte, Park). That leaves Aceves, Gaudin, Mitre, and (Hughes/Joba) left fight for three spots.

Joe Pawlikowski(River Ave Blues) argues that sending Aceves to the Minors would be a waste, given his value to the team’s bullpen. One key stat from the article? The bullpen gave up 55 runs in 71 innings during April last season before Aceves was called up. After his callup, Aceves was 10-1 out of bullpen and was a key cog for the team. He has minor league options, but it would be foolish to send him down. Aceves is #5.

Chad Gaudin is owed $3 million this season. He proved to be a valuable asset. In 11 games last season, he posted a record of 2-0, resulting in a 3.43 ERA. A team may come calling for a trade during Spring Training. Gaudin is out of Minor league options, so the team would risk losing him if they designated him for assignment. Trading Gaudin would make sense financially, but I think he’s too valuable as a spot starter/long man for the team. Another team would have to offer draft picks or young talent. I think Gaudin stays. Gaudin is #6

So we have one spot left. Mitre or Joba/Hughes. I think we can assume that Joba will be the fifth starter in the rotation. So do the Yankees send Hughes back to Triple A? I say no. Mike Axisa (River Ave. Blues) wrote a post on this topic earlier today. I agree with Mike’s thesis. Hughes has proven that he can dominate Triple A. Sending him back will not help the team. He has proven to be the essential 8th inning bridge to Mariano. In my opinion, Hughes is one of the Top 7 arms on the Yankee staff. When the season starts, you want to have your 12 best arms ready to go. I mentioned in an earlier article that I think Hughes will start in the rotation next season. Give him the experience now against Big League hitters. Hughes is #7.

So what do we do with Mitre? Well, he is a cheap arm. His 2009 numbers weren’t great, but the Yankees seem to have admiration for the guy. He is only set to make $750K this season. One option? Trading him to the Dodgers so we can claim Rule 5 pick Jamie Hoffman(Hoffman is sent back to the Dodgers if he doesn’t make the 25-man roster). The Dodgers need more arms and personally, I’m interested to see what Hoffman has to offer.

What do you Yankee fans think?

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