The ‘tres amigos’ in the Yankee bullpen of Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances had quickly dwindled down to un solo amigo...kind of. With Aroldis Chapman definitely to miss time while suspended and Andrew Miller now with a bone chip in his wrist, the crazy 1-2-3 punch has turned into just one. Yes, Miller has been cleared to pitch, but will the Yankees be that stupid?
But one thing good teams, and in particular champions do, is overcome adversity. Even more, they are the BEST at overcoming adversity.
Let me first give you my glass half full points. Both Chapman and Miller will be back, this is true, and yes, the season hasn’t officially started yet and we still have All-Star Dellin Betances. So it’s better this happened now than in September, that's the bottom line.
The big negatives are obvious though as losing two of the three biggest pieces of the bullpen are going to be hard to replace. Nobody can argue that. It could be argued that Chapman and Miller are not only the two best relievers on the Yankees, but also the two best lefty relievers in all of baseball. But what good teams do is find the next man.
I’m a firm believer that the best way to become a star is to take advantage of your opportunities. Chasen Shreve, who had a great five months in 2015 before struggling in September, will now be the 'go to' lefty. The young man has had a great spring and should be able to hold down the fort well enough for the next six weeks or so.
(In photo: Luis Cessa)
As for the rest of the bullpen, Bryan Mitchell had been phenomenal and would be relied upon more so by manager Joie Girardi before the foot injury. But we move on... Off-season acquisition Luis Cessa now seems to have a path to the Opening Day roster as do Johnny Barbato and Kirby Yates. I expect these guys to shine together.
The unfortunate circumstances also put more pressure on the starting rotation though. It appeared the starters had to get through just the sixth inning on most days before turning the game over to bullpen, but now with the lack of depth and experience, the starters must dig down deep and be efficient in order to minimize the amount of innings the bullpen will be required to throw.
The depth that Brian Cashman has added and developed over the past two off-season’s is now more important than ever. Depth is huge and that point is clear before the first meaningful game has even been played.
With the bullpen using less experienced and unproven arms, it’s yet to be seen who will step up. Naturally there will be a couple guys who under perform and hopefully for the sake of the team, there will be one or two guys who take this opportunity in stride and force Girardi and GM Brian Cashman to keep them on the roster for the course of the season.
Plus the offense will have to win games on its own. That’s inevitable.
How the Yankees perform as the season begins will have a lot to do with the ability of some of these young men to step up and overcome their own adversity. Whether it be the nerves of pitching in front of nearly 50,000 fans at Yankee Stadium, or just simply facing the best hitters on the planet, each individual on a team needs to be better than the opponent more often than not.
It’s not necessarily easy, but just like every other team, the Yankees will have to overcome adversity.
The Champion come October will be the team that overcomes adversity the best.