December 2, 2022

How the New York Yankees can replace reliever Michael King in the bullpen

King had been so good all year, stepping into a late-inning role with Jonathan Loáisiga and Aroldis Chapman injured or ineffective.

It’s time for these two to return the favor.

Loáisiga has shown flashes since returning from his shoulder injury, but his 7.52 ERA on the year is indicative of his struggles even when healthy. The right-hander was spectacular a year ago but has been unable to regain that dominance in 2022.

Chapman started the year with 12 scoreless outings. Since then, including a stint on the IL with an Achilles injury, the southpaw has an 11.70 ERA in 10 pitched innings (over 13 appearances), losing control of his role as New York’s closest. He’s been a shell of himself all year, battling command issues while failing to limit slugs.

Plus, arms like Wandy Peralta and Albert Abreu, who threw well in the pinstripes, need to carry those results into higher leverage situations. The last thing the Yankees want is for closer Clay Holmes to burn out before the playoffs, forced to carry even more weight at the back.

Also keep an eye out for younger pitchers like Ron Marinaccio, JP Sears and Schmidt. These three have shone during sporadic spells with the big league club and are likely to play an important role in the future.

Sears and Schmidt are developed as starting pitchers, so they can last several innings out of the bullpen, also fitting into the rotation if necessary. It’s not an exact comparison, but Schmidt could settle into a role very similar to King’s, using his electric stuff and choke repertoire to slam the door for several innings at once, also taking part in more traditional relief appearances.

Marinaccio knocked out the team in his last outing in rehab with Double-A Somerset on Friday and will soon be ready to join the Yankees (he’s been out since the start of the month with a shoulder inflammation). The right-hander proved he was capable of throwing with the game on the line, tossing 15.1 scoreless innings in a row before landing on the disabled list, a streak dating back to May 22.