The yellow goalposts stood out in the light rain Wednesday morning at Yankee Stadium, awaiting Saturday’s Holy Cross-Fordham football game. Meanwhile, David Cone stood inside the Great Hall, talking baseball and pitching upgrades for the Yankees as volunteers loaded USO care packages.
The former Yankees and Mets righthander and current YES broadcaster’s first thought about the team’s needs after a postseason-less, 84-win year is about adding more relief to the cause. It revolves around a sequel with free-agent lefty closer Aroldis Chapman, fresh off his World Series win with the Cubs against the Indians.
“I think from the top, it certainly makes sense to look at the bullpen,” Cone said before lending a hand at an event where the Yankees donated $25,000 to the USO. “Somebody like Chapman can make sense, depending on the numbers.
“[Dellin] Betances could close, but judging from the playoffs, it’s nice to have somebody you can use like Cleveland used Andrew Miller. The deeper your bullpen, the better off you are.”
GM Brian Cashman sent Chapman and his 100-plus-mph heat to Chicago for righty Adam Warren and three prospects on July 25. Chapman posted 20 saves in 21 tries and went 3-0 with the Yankees.
“He had success here and he liked it here,” Cone said.
The rotation is fronted by Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda. Then there are mostly young arms ready to compete for jobs. But the Yankees are interested in bringing in another veteran arm.
“It’s kind of time to take inventory and find out how close some of these kids are,” Cone said. “You need to find out what you have. But if there’s a veteran out there to be had — it’s slim pickings right now.”
Luis Cessa caught Cone’s eye among the Yankees’ young starters from last season. The 24-year-old righthander went 2-4 with a 4.01 ERA over nine starts in August and September.
“To me, he probably has as much polish in terms of his repertoire as any of the young pitchers that we saw,” Cone said. “ . . . I think obviously the experience he got could go a long way this year.”
Luis Severino excelled out of the bullpen, but the 22-year-old righty flopped as a starter, going 0-8 with an 8.50 ERA over eight starts. Cone said he thinks the Yankees have “got to take one more look in the rotation at him just because of his age.”
Age is a big thing now for this team — a younger age.
“It’s a new world for the Yankees, that’s for sure,” Cone said. “If I’m a young player on the Yankees, you’ve got to be just exploding right now because you know the opportunity is there.”