Based on the current roster, the Yankee bullpen, as of November 23, consists of:
-A first ballot HoFer in Mariano Rivera (will be 36 in a week). Greatest. Closer. Ever. (and quite possibly the best righthanded pitcher in Yankee history).
-A pitcher with a career ERA of 5.18 in Tanyon Sturtze (just turned 35). To be fair, Tanyon did pitch well for a little bit between late-year 2004 and the first third of 2005 but for whatever reason, regression to his old self, injury, overuse, etc., went back to being the Tanyon Sturtze that Tampa Bay got rid of. Hopefully, he is able to rediscover the cutter that Mo taught him in 2004 and be effective again. Still, having to rely on Tanyon Sturtze to be a central part of your bullpen is definitely not the ideal scenario.

Then you have your tweeners. Are they starters or relievers?

-A journeyman who went 10-0 with a 3.20 ERA last year in spot starts and relief stints in Aaron Small (just turned 34 today - Happy Birthday Aaron!). However, he doesn't have much of a pedigree outside of 2005 and wasn't exactly tearing up the minors prior to his call-up. While I certainly want to see Aaron's magic ride continue on, a regression to his true abilities seems almost inevitable. How much of a regression will take place is the question.
-A former pitching prodigy, whose arm ailments read like a medical manual, that allowed a line of .313/.394/.475 and turned in an ERA of 6.08 in Jaret Wright (turns 30 in a month). Who knows which Jaret Wright we'll see next year? Will be it the 2004 version that was rewarded with a 3 year contract or are all those other injury plagued and ineffective seasons more indicitive of what he can really produce? I'll give him this though: Jaret apparently wants very badly to pitch well foir the's just a question of whether his talent and his arm will allow him to do so.

If you figure that the Yanks will carry 6 pitchers in the bullpen, then there are two other spots to fill. Right now, those other spots are a toss-up. There are a number of minor leaguers who could figure into those plans including:

-Colter Bean (I'll believe it when I see it),
-Matt Smith (good lefty, good numbers in AA but was absolutely shelled in the AFL - he is pitching well for Team USA right now and I am becoming increasingly worried that he might end up overworked),
-Jason Anderson (has gotten the job done at the AAA level since 2002 but hasn't done so hot in the majors), and
-Scott Proctor (by this point, everyone knows what he is - hard thrower with a straight fastball and no offspeed stuff).

Now, we have news that the Yankees have signed Jose Veras. This came as a complete shock to me since I didn't even realize that he was on the Yankees radar. I think he was signed to see if he could be the proverbial diamond in the rough. However, Veras hasn't exactly done much at any level but he did pitch decently at AAA Oklahoma last year. Honestly, the only thing that I can think of that would preclude this signing is that this guy is younger (25 next year), BIG (6' 5", 230 lbs.) and throws hard. Other than that... well, he does have control issues, so I guess they wanted someone to replace Felix Rodriguez.

At this point, there are a lot of question marks there and no easy answers. Well, there is one... but he looks like he wants to close somewhere else, away from the pressures of NY. The Yanks would be well served to look a lot harder at that second tier of bullpen free agents, i.e. Kyle Farnsworth, Octavio Dotel, Braden Looper, etc. as the first tier don't seem to want to get fitted for pinstripes.

For further reading, Steve Lombardi has a similar look at the 2006 pen over at WasWatching so I'd give that a look when you get a chance.