Reliever Transactions: Banda, Chapman, Shreve, Holmes
Over the weekend, the Yankees made moves with three different left-handed pitchers. Let's talk about it.
Transaction: Signed to a Major League Contract
The New York Yankees mark the 3rd MLB team for the left-handed pitcher Anthony Banda in 2022 (and 6th since 2017). This season he previously spent time with the Pittsburgh Pirates from April to the end of June and the Toronto Blue Jays across the month of July. Since then, he has spent the last month on a minor league deal in the Seattle Mariners system.
In the MLB, Anthony Banda pitched in 19.2 innings over 23 games with the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 6.41 ERA (3.79 FIP, 66 ERA+) with 22 strikeouts. With the Toronto Blue Jays he was better, producing to a 4.26 ERA (4.39 FIP, 97 ERA+) with 7 strikeouts over 7 games and 6.1 innings. In the minors with the Tacoma Rainiers (Triple-A), Banda pitched to a 2.25 ERA over 4 innings in 4 games.
Anthony Banda made his Yankees debut in the loss against the Oakland Athletics yesterday, pitching a scoreless 0.2 innings of work while allowing 2 walks and recording 1 strikeout.
If you want my opinion, I can't imagine Anthony Banda is long for the Yankees. Or, at the very least, he isn't going to be long for the Yankees in the major leagues. A lot of this depends on the outlook of our next player (who we will get to in just a second), but he seems to be a prototype "let's take a shot on him" type guy around the league.
Sometimes it might just be a little tweak to turn him around into a solid MLB arm. The Yankees have shown a great ability to do this, consistently, for many years now.
Transaction: Placed on the 15-Day IL
It has been a tumultuous year for Aroldis Chapman. He started the season with 12 straight scoreless appearances before completely imploding his way to a 3.86 ERA after allowing runs in 5 straight appearances immediately after that great run. Then, he went on the 15-Day IL with Achilles tendonitis in his left leg which kept him out from May 24th until July 1st. During that month+ break, he also lost his closer role to Clay Holmes.
And, now he's back on the 15-Day IL, however, this time for an absolutely absurd injury.
Aroldis Chapman has a leg infection after getting a tattoo done.
Aroldis Chapman will be able to return to the Yankees on September 11th.
In my opinion, the beginning of the end with Aroldis Chapman and the New York Yankees has already been pretty clearly on the radar. He's not pitched well this year at all (4.70 ERA, 30.2 IP, 22 BB, 35 K's) and this latest injury may be the straw that breaks the camels back.
Obviously I hope the infection isn't serious and that Chapman can return without any problems.
But, oi vey. I really hope that this spells the writing on the wall for there being no future reunion between the Yankees and Chapman.
Transaction: Signed on a Minor League Deal with the New York Yankees.
(As a foreword: I am the world's #1 Chasen Shreve fan. I am so happy he is back.)
Since being traded away from the New York Yankees in 2018 with Giovanny Gallegos in a a package for Luke Voit, I have wanted Chasen Shreve to come back to the Yankees. And, now he's just one step (theoretically) away.
Chasen Shreve signed a 1-year/$1.5 Million deal with the New York Mets going into the 2022 season, during which he produced to a 6.49 ERA (5.02 FIP, 61 ERA+) over 26.1 innings in 25 appearances. He also had 29 strikeouts, 10 walks, allowed 6 home runs, and 27 hits.
However, in 2021 Chasen Shreve was much much better. To the tune of a 3.20 ERA (135 ERA+, 4.73 FIP) over 57 games in 56.1 innings with 28 walks and 45 strikeouts.
Chasen Shreve is a flip-flopper. One year his stats are really bad. The next year they are pretty good.
As a left-handed reliever who can and has produced at the MLB level, he's going to be able to stick around the league for a number of more years in a journeyman/LOOGY/spot reliever role. And, if he can figure it out again for any solid length of time he'll continue to get called in for more work.
Ultimately, it is a nothing-doing move for the Yankees. Get some good will from the fans who look at them bringing back a guy who gave a number of years to the team while also bringing in a guy who has experience and could become a necessary player if things continue to get worse as the postseason comes around.
It's a proper baseball move. AND I'M PUMPED ABOUT IT. BRING HIM UP!
Clay Holmes (and Luke Bard):
Transaction: Recalled off the 15-Day IL (and optioned down to Triple-A)
After a run of bad performances over a month where he had a 10.24 ERA over 11 games- after an absolutely dominant first half with a 0.46 ERA over 38 games- it was clear that something was wrong with Clay Holmes. So, the Yankees found a reason to put him on the IL with some lower back spasms on August 17th. It is now 15 days from that day, so the Yankees have brought him back.
We will see which Clay Holmes emerges from the time off, and it isn't hard to imagine why Yankees fans- and myself- are excited about him coming back.
Unfortunately, this move also means Luke Bard is now back in Triple-A. You have to feel for him. Between the Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays this season, he has been optioned and recalled between the minor and major leagues 7 times in this season alone.
He's a solid enough pitcher who is just stuck in a limbo land on teams that want good depth but just don't have room for him.
And this is what happens when you're a right-handed pitcher. Unfortunately, the need is less and the barrier for entry is much higher.
I'll be rooting for Luke Bard, as I do with most players, to continue to have enough success to make good money while he can in professional baseball. I mean, hey, the guy pitched a perfect inning for the Yankees so I have nothing to be mad at from him.