The bullpen depth of the New York Yankees has been strained this season, as Johnathan Loaisiga, Scott Effross, Lou Trivino, and Tommy Kahnle are all currently grappling with injuries.
This series of setbacks has given Albert Abreu, a robust right-handed pitcher, a third chance to demonstrate his worthiness for a permanent spot in the major leagues with the team. He had a stint with the Yankees in 2021, was released, and then was reclaimed from the Royals in June 2022.
Regrettably, it might be time to conclude the Abreu experiment.
The final straw occurred on Sunday against the Rays when Abreu, who was already underperforming, stepped in for Clarke Schmidt in a tied game in the fifth inning. He threw four straight changeups to Taylor Walls, the fourth of which was hit for a grand slam, determining the game’s outcome.
[su_posts template=”templates/list-loop.php” posts_per_page=”3″ tax_term=”1622326″ offset=”1″ order=”desc”]
The Yankees can’t rely on Albert Abreu:
In his last 7.2 innings, Abreu has surrendered nine earned runs and issued nine walks. His season ERA has risen to 4.95. His command continues to falter, costing the Yankees several potentially winnable games early this season.
The Yankees have been noted in recent years for their excessive reliance on the young right-hander. At one point last season, Abreu was pitching in high-pressure situations in the majors, while Ron Marinaccio was in triple-A. Many believe this decision cost the Yankees vital wins during a strenuous second half.
On Sunday, Ian Hamilton was an available option, and the situation before Walls’ grand slam was undoubtedly the game’s most significant at-bat. Relying on a pitcher who has repeatedly shown inconsistency is unlikely to yield positive outcomes in the long run.
Although it’s still only May, the Yankees are playing games as crucial now as they would be in late September. The team currently sits last in the AL East with a 23-19 record. It may be time to introduce a new pitcher, designate Abreu for assignment, and give him a fresh start elsewhere.
One name that springs to mind is Matt Krook. Krook, who impressed during spring training, is currently in triple-A with Scranton. He transitioned into a full-time reliever role with the Railriders this year and has been performing exceptionally well.
In his nine appearances this year, the left-handed pitcher has a 1-1 record with a 1.42 ERA, 26 strikeouts, and nine walks over 12.2 innings pitched. Krook was sidelined by an injury after his outing on April 26 but returned to action on Sunday, pitching one inning in which he walked one and struck out three.
Since Wandy Peralta is the Yankees’ only left-handed pitcher in the bullpen, Krook would provide an additional left-handed option. He could also give them some length out of the bullpen and bring in a high number of strikeouts.
Other possibilities include granting Greg Weissert a longer opportunity and examining how Pitching Coach Matt Blake might rework his skill set given his potential. Deivi Garcia, who made one appearance with the Yankees this year and recorded his first MLB save, is another option.
The Yankees’ future plans for Albert Abreu are still uncertain, but it may be time to conclude this protracted experiment.
Follow this writer on Twitter: @DylanBacker_