Connect with us


Yankees Mistakenly Send Warren to the Pen

USA Today Sports

USA Today Sports

Sometimes the right choice plays second fiddle to the easy one.

On Monday night, New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman made the easy choice – they demoted Adam Warren, who has easily been their most consistent starter over the last two months, to the bullpen in favor of CC Sabathia keeping his job in the rotation.

It was an easy choice for plenty of reasons. With six starting pitchers on the roster, someone had to go. Warren has experience as a reliever – he pitched to a 2.97 ERA in 69 appearances last year – and the pen could use a good righty. However, the likely leading factor that made Warren the odd man out is that such a move involving Sabathia would have crushed the big lefty’s self-esteem like a right-handed hitter crushes one of his fastballs.

The right choice would have been to banish Sabathia to relief work, where he could still contribute by pitching against left-handed batters. The veteran is having a miserable year, pitching to a 3-8 record, 5.59 ERA, 1.400 WHIP and 10.9 H/9 ratio. He has allowed a major league-worst 19 home runs and right-handed batters are teeing off on him on a regular basis.

On a grander scale, the former Cy Young winner simply has been a below-average big league pitcher for three seasons now.

Getty Images

Getty Images

However, Sabathia has a $25 million paycheck coming his way, so the Yankees seem willing to let him work his issues out, no matter how long it takes. To be fair, Sabathia is coming off one of his best starts in recent memory, but even that was just a mediocre performance in which he allowed four earned runs (two homers) in 7.1 innings of work on Monday.

At this point, that seems to be Sabathia’s ceiling.

Warren’s is much higher.

The 27-year-old’s transition to relief comes at at time when he is 5-5 with a 3.59 ERA in 14 starts. Yes, he has already thrown 82.2 innings, the most he has ever thrown in a big league season, but Warren was brought up as a starter and has pitched over 150 innings in the minors twice before. At this point, the Yankees should not be worried about tiring him out, especially with the way he has been throwing.

After struggling to pitch deep into ballgames early in the year, Warren has done nothing but that of late. He has gone past the sixth inning in six of his last eight starts, posting a 2.96 ERA in that span. Meanwhile, Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda, the leaders of New York’s rotation, have been inconsistent of late.

In others words, Warren has been the best starting pitcher in a group that has a 4.43 ERA on the season, a mark just good enough to keep the Yankees out of the bottom five pitching staffs in baseball. Meanwhile, the team’s bullpen has been solid as a unit for the most part despite the lack of multiple reliable righties. New York relievers have combined for a 3.3 WAR and 9.91 K/9 ratio (both 2nd in the majors), .281 BABIP (9th) and 3.48 ERA (13th).

No, the group has not been perfect, but they have been far from bad as well. Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances had formed the nastiest one-two punch in the majors before the former got hurt ( he should be back soon), but others like Chasen Shreve and Justin Wilson have stepped up in his absence while Betances continues to be lights out. Sure, Betances is the only consistent non-southpaw in the group, but that has yet to really hurt the Yankees.

The group does not need Warren nearly as much as the rotation does.

Sure, his move to the bullpen will strengthen that area of the roster, but the Yanks seems to be ignoring the fact that it will be weakening a part that already has far more problems.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in Baseball