New York Yankees: Why Chad Green makes more sense as a traditional reliever

Andres Chavez
New York Yankees, Chad Green
Mar 23, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Chad Green (57) throws a pitch during the third inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees sure have a very good bullpen, even though they lost one of the most dominant relievers of the last five years in Dellin Betances. They have Tommy Kahnle, Adam Ottavino, Zack Britton, Aroldis Chapman and other high-upside arms. However, they do have one wild card: Chad Green.

Green has a career 3.16 ERA in 259.1 frames. He was dominant as recently as 2018, when he finished with a 2.50 ERA and 11.18 K/9 in 75.2 innings. However, he had a nightmarish start of the season in 2019.

He was sent to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in late April because of a 16.43 ERA in his first 10 relief outings. In 7 ²/₃ innings, Green allowed 15 hits (four homers) and hitters had a ghastly .395 against him.

After a couple of weeks ironing things out in the minors, the New York Yankees’ hard-throwing righty returned to his 2018 form, posting a 2.64 ERA in 44 games (15 starts) and working 61 ¹/₃ innings with a .223 average against. He registered a .653 OPS against and whiffed 91 batters with only 15 walks.

The Yankees can afford to have him as a traditional bullpen arm

Now that the Yankees have some depth in the rotation – despite losing Luis Severino to injury and Domingo German to suspension, they still have Gerrit Cole, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, J.A. Happ, Jordan Montgomery, Jonathan Loaisiga, Luis Cessa, Deivi Garcia, Mike King and Clarke Schmidt – he probably won’t be needed as an opener. He can focus on his reliever role and routine.

A talent evaluator told George King III of the New York Post that he believes Green is good enough to close in another team, but he recommended against making him start games. “Not make him an opener,” he said of Green.

He didn’t do particularly badly as an opener, with a 3.72 ERA. However, he was a better traditional reliever, and the memory of Yuli Gurriel’s three-run homer in the first inning of last season’s ALCS Game Six is still lingering.

Making Green a traditional reliever seems the way to go for the New York Yankees. They would be reinforcing a strength. “They have a lot of options late and that give guys breathers which is something not a lot of teams have,’’ the scout said.