I agree that the game has changed quite a bit and bullpens are more important that ever.
Of course, this observation is about 25 years late:
"It’s a changing game where, as both the Royals and the Giants demonstrated, the bullpen is everything now. As Cashman discovered last year when CC Sabathia went down and was hardly missed, and the subsequent loss of Masahiro Tanaka was likewise hardly felt, you don’t need a 250-inning, 20-win horse to compete. It’s nice if you have one (or two if you’re the Los Angeles Dodgers), but the vast majority of starting pitchers now are out of the games after six innings and/or 100 pitches, and if you don’t have the relievers who can consistently get you those last nine outs, you’re sunk."
Sure, it's nice to have a starting pitcher who pitches 250 innings, like Mario Soto or Dave Stewart, but Dennis Eckersley and Randy Myers have shown the baseball world the importance of bullpens.
As for the idea that Sabathia and Tanaka weren't missed? Let's suppose they both come back in 2015 and pitch light's out. Both are Cy Young Award candidates, as their salaries would more or less indicate. If that happens, the Yankees are instantly the best team in the AL instead of .500 slobs.
Tanaka was 12-4 and on his way to 20 wins when he got hurt.
You might as well say the Mets didn't miss Matt Harvey.
"This is why re-signing David Robertson is Cashman’s absolute top priority and why, if Chase Headley and Brandon McCarthy get over-market four-year offers elsewhere, the Yankees will simply move on."
Robertson is better and more important than Headley or McCarthy. The success of the 2014 Royals has nothing to do with that.
Besides, I don't know if anyone noticed, but the Giants won the World Series ... and the MVP was a starting pitcher workhorse. His name is Madison Bumgarner and he is good.
"With Robertson in tow, and Dellin Betances supported by Wilson and emerging system lefty, Jacob Lindgren, plus Shawn Kelley and Adam Warren, the Yankees could potentially have one of the deepest bullpens in the AL."
They already have one of the deepest bullpens in the AL, and it's certainly an important component.
But I'll also say that a knockout closer is wasting his time on a bad team.
So of course the Yankees should sign Robertson.
Then maybe buy Teixeira a gym membership and tell him to hit a HR once in a while with men on base. That way, perhaps the Yankees will have actual leads in the ninth inning and Robertson can get a lot of saves.
"The point is, as long as he has a strong and deep bullpen, Cashman doesn’t need to have a superstar-laden lineup (although he does need to have a relatively healthy lineup, which could be no small order considering all his over-30 veterans)."
This is such a weird conclusion.
The Yankees had a star bullpen last year ... and they missed the playoffs.
The Yankees had Robertson and Mariano the year before that ... and they missed the playoffs.
The Yankees have been obsessed with bullpen depth since at least 1996. Nobody remembers Mariano setting up Wetteland? Nobody remembers Yankee closers winning the World Series MVPs in 1996 and 1999?
Sure, Mariano was the foundation for a long time, but the "bridge" to Mariano included pitchers such as Tom Gordon, Mike Stanton, Jeff Nelson, Kerry Wood ... remember when Phil Hughes, and Joba Chamberlain were great setup pitchers? ... and they also had quite a few high-investment 8th-inning busts, such as Juan Acevedo and Todd Williams.
If anything, the Royals are mimicking the Yankees.