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  • Writer's pictureEthan Semendinger

Blue Jays Sign Chad Green

An under-the-radar move, the Toronto Blue Jays have signed Chad Green to a two year deal with 2 additional option years. Lets talk about it.




On Chad Green:

A now former member of the New York Yankees, Chad Green had spent his entire 7-year MLB career donning the pinstripes. Drafted by the Detroit Tigers during the 11th round of the 2013 MLB First Year Player Draft- signing out of the University of Kentucky- and after three minor league seasons was traded to New York in December of 2015 (with Luis Cessa) for Justin Wilson. He would make his MLB debut with the Yankees in 2016.

A pitching prospect with eyes set on becoming a starting pitcher, Green's first MLB action was as a starter on May 16th, 2016 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. During that first season, all of Green's 12 games were either starts (8) or finishes (4) while he posted a 4.73 ERA. Though he was a rookie and a halfway decent prospect in the Yankees system, the Yankees were then quick to move him into a full-time bullpen role in 2017. Green responded by posted a 1.83 ERA (still a career best) over 67 innings, while ranking as the 6th best reliever in all of baseball (by fWAR). He continued this in 2018 while posting a 2.50 ERA over another 75.2 innings. Over that two year period, Green had pitched more innings than Kenley Jansen, Edwin Diaz, and Josh Hader while boasting a better ERA than all three! Though, his only career save had come in his rookie 2016 season, it was clear Green was becoming a stud bullpen arm.

And then the Yankees tried to adopt the Rays strategy of having an opener. It was the hot new thing to try in 2019 and Green was in the middle of a terrible season (he had a 5.69 ERA in the first half). Though it ultimately went nowhere for the team and Green (who did finish the year with a 2.89 ERA in the second half). In 2020, Green was back to being a consistent bullpen arm in the shortened season, while posting a 3.51 ERA over 25.2 innings. This gave the Yankees hope again in Green, and in 2021 he was given more than a few opportunities to close out games; collecting 6 (a career high in a season) while dropping his ERA to 3.12 while giving the Yankees 83.2 innings of work.

This past season, in 2022, Green was again lowering his ERA which sat at a perfect 3.00 after being removed from a May 19th appearance against the Baltimore Orioles. It was soon afterwards, during this past June, that he would undergo Tommy John surgery.

Chad Green was a consistent arm in the Yankees bullpen from 2016 through his injury in 2022. He was consistently very good, though there were some concerning trends with a K/9 rate that had dropped each year from 2019 through 2022 and a rise in both hard-hit and fly-ball percentages from 2020. This all isn't to say he wasn't effective (over the last 3 seasons, he pitched nearly 125 innings to a 3.18 ERA), but to avoid these concerns is to look back at his time with the Yankees with only rose-colored glasses.


On the Deal:

For at least the next two years (and maybe two more afterwards), Chad Green will likely be pitching north of the border. How much of that actually happens in 2023 remains to be seen as typical Tommy John recovery windows tend to last from about 1 to 1.5 years (or 12 months to 18 months), though I believe the Toronto Blue Jays are getting a pretty good deal out of this all things considered. There have been no reports that Chad Green is behind on a typical recovery timeline, and this is indicated further by the Blue Jays willing to extend a contract that has multiple option years.

I don't think he'll get much playing time in 2023- see what happened to Zack Britton this past season as he tried to get in some playing time in September, 2022 after getting Tommy John surgery in September, 2021- but he could get in some minor league rehab and late-season appearances if the Blue Jays are making a postseason push.

I was hoping that a deal could be made between the New York Yankees and Chad Green, and I was willing to make a 3 Year/$18 Million commitment (with incentives up to 3/$25M) back in late October. Depending on how the Blue Jays have structured their contract monetarily with their 2025 and 2026 options, but this deal may not actually be too far off from what he was able to get.

This is what they Ken Rosenthal tweet about Green's deal means, to explain it simply: Regardless of if/how Green pitches during the 2023 season, the Blue Jays have the first move going into 2024. If they like what they saw (or they liked how he progressed through rehab and recovery), they can exercise an additional 3 years to the deal, keeping him from 2024 through 2026. If the Blue Jays do not exercise this option, Chad Green can himself exercise the option to stick around in 2024 anyway. If both teams reject these options, the Blue Jays have a final option to bring him back for 2024 and 2025, but at a higher average annual value than what the 2024-26 deal would have been. Ultimately there are scenarios that would need to play out to see any of the 4 scenarios from this:

  • Scenario One: Blue Jays keep Green through 2026 - This will likely happen if Chad Green returns in time for a 2023 playoff push, let's say around late-July, and posts some very good numbers (likely at or below a 3.15 ERA) to help the Blue Jays stay in the race late and/or make the playoffs.

  • Scenario Two: Chad Green exercises his option for 2024 - This will likely happen if Chad Green has a major set-back in his progress towards getting back to the field in 2023. The Blue Jays would not likely be willing to go 3 more years on a risk, but Green gets the final say and guarantees himself a good payday as he continues to recover.

  • Scenario Three: Blue Jays keep Green through 2025 (at a higher AAV) - This will likely happen if Green makes it back for only the very end of 2023 and shows some okay performance (let's say an ERA between 3.15 and 3.65) out of the bullpen. He's still valuable, but the longer recovery timeline and just okay results will push the Blue Jays to want to keep him, but for a shorter time.

  • Scenario Four: Blue Jays and Green depart after 2023 - This could happen one of two ways. The first is that Green has a minor set-back in his rehab in 2023 and just misses getting some MLB time. The Blue Jays won't take another 2-3 year risk on him, and Green will want to sign another multi-year deal with a team knowing he's on the precipice of return. Alternatively, Green could have a stinker of a season after returning in 2023. I could see that leading Green to taking the second scenario (as a prove-it deal) but I could also see him leaving the Blue Jays (whose ballpark is in the Top 1/3rd for home runs allowed and is having a new outfield wall for 2023) and desiring to take that prove-it deal elsewhere. I can't imagine the Blue Jays would want him back on a multi-year deal in either of those two options.


Final Thoughts:

It'll be sad to see Chad Green go. He was a very important member of the Yankees bullpen for the great part of the last decade for the Yankees, and was a big part in what made the Yankees bullpen so formidable. Though he wasn't a closer, he was a big arm who could get the big outs and shut down opponents for many innings at a time.

I was hoping that the Yankees front office would see a move to re-sign Green as a good public relations move and as a good omen towards their players. A "Look! We brought back our veteran pitcher who got injured with us on a deal that will set him up with money for life and with no pressures to pitch this season" type move. It had good karma written all over it.

However, with the deal he just got (which is actually good for both player and team, given the potential scenarios I listed above), I can see why the Yankees are foregone bringing Green back.

I hope he comes back strong and earns a nice payday from the Blue Jays. I also hope he just so happens to pitch poorly whenever he goes up against the Yankees again in the future. Save those great games for the other guys!

Best of luck, Chad!

4 comentarios

03 feb 2023

when a team has already acquired the best available players on the market,

when that team already has a payroll commitment which is the most elevated in the AL

and second-highest in the majors,

when the team has the best rotation in the majors and has had the highest-scoring offense in the AL for a couple of seasons,

when that team has relatively few 'holes' to fill

it makes a certain amount of sense to take the time to assess the likelihood of filing them with prospects (as they seem to have decided to do with the shortstop position)

or whether it's best to allow the prospects further development time and attempt to acquire someone (as they seem to be…

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Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
03 feb 2023

The Yankees seem intent on not going over the next luxury tax threshold.

IF that is the case, and it certainly seems to be, unless they move a player, they're not acquiring anyone else.

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Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
03 feb 2023

I wish Green well (except against the Yankees, of course). He's a gritty guy, and I was nearly always happy to see him come in. I certainly wish him good health. But from a business perspective, I have no problem with the Yankees letting him walk (though I wish he'd walked somewhere like Cincinnati!).

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02 feb 2023

the Yankees can spare Green.

and have no real need to pay him $18M for two years of work

they have no shortage of right-handed relievers and might do better to apply the money to a lefty

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