Should They Stay or Go? (RP: 2 of 2)
The Yankees have a lot of decisions to make this offseason, one could say there's bound to a "clash" of opinions. Let's talk about it.
Today I will be discussing the Yankees main relief pitchers.
Bold statistics led Yankees relievers
2022 Statistics: 50 Games, 9 Games Finished, 2-3 Record (.400 WP%), 2 Saves, 4.13 ERA (95 ERA+), 48.0 IP, 37 K's (6.9 K/9), 1.292 WHIP (3.57 FIP), -0.5 bWAR/+0.4 fWAR
Contract Status: Heading into Arbitration 2; Under Contract through 2024
The story of Jonathan Loaisiga has been much of the same each year of his professional career and it did continue again in 2022. That story is injuries. In 2022, Loaisiga missed about 2 months of MLB action while dealing with right shoulder inflammation.
Loaisiga was also not the best reliever out there for much of the 2022 season. He came into the season as the seeming heir-apparent to Aroldis Chapman in the closer role, had a chance to take it from him early in the season, and then lost out to Clay Holmes before getting hurt. However, his 2021 performance (2.17 ERA over 70.2 IP with 69 K's) combined with his great postseason for the Yankees in the ALDS and ALCS will keep him as a favorite to be a go-to guy in the backend of the bullpen next season.
The Verdict: Jonathan Loaisiga has all the potential in the world and knows how to show off his stuff when healthy. However, it's almost like he wished on a monkey's paw to have great stuff, which came at the expense of being injury prone. For him though, I'd want to continue to take those risks. The highs far exceed the lows.
2022 Statistics: 14 Games, 2 Games Finished, 1-1 Record (.500 WP%), 1 Save, 3.00 ERA (133 ERA+), 15.0 IP, 16 K's (9.6 K/9), 1.200 WHIP (2.85 FIP), +0.1 bWAR/+0.3 fWAR
Contract Status: Set to become a Free Agent
Chad Green has been a constant name in the Yankees bullpen for the last 7 seasons from 2016-2022. During that stretch, he pitched 50+ innings at the MLB level in all but one full season, 2016, because he spent considerable time in Triple-A. It did take a while to determine if he was a starter, spot starter, or reliever, but his being a reliever was all but confirmed in the past few seasons (his two worst seasons in the MLB are the ones that the Yankees tried to use him as a starter). His above-average relief pitching was on show again in 2022 before being removed from a game on May 19th with right forearm discomfort. Three days later, it was announced that Green would have to undergo Tommy John surgery.
What an absolute shame for a proven reliever to get hit with that diagnosis during their walk year to face free agency for the first time.
The Verdict: If I ran the Yankees, I would offer Chad Green an incentive-laden 3-year deal to pay out $4 Million in 2023 (the same as his 2022 salary in Arbitration 3), $6 Million (with incentives up to $9 Million) in 2024, and $8 Million (with incentives to $12 Million) in 2025. It would be highlighted with a season for recovery from injury in 2023 while providing Chad Green with financial security through the rest of his life at a guaranteed rate of 3/$18 Million (with incentives up to 3/$25 Million), while giving the team a friendly contract for their finances. It would also show the Yankees care about their players, which would be a smart move in this instance.
2022 Statistics (Overall): 64 Games, 30 Games Finished, 2-8 Record (.200 WP%), 11 Saves, 4.53 ERA (85 ERA+), 53.2 IP, 67 K's (11.2 K/9), 1.640 WHIP (3.63 FIP), -0.2 bWAR/0.0 fWAR
2022 Statistics (NYY): 25 Games, 7 Games Finished, 1-2 Record (.333 WP%), 1 Save, 1.66 ERA (238 ERA+), 21.2 IP, 22 K's (9.1 K/9), 1.292 WHIP (3.34 FIP), +0.7 bWAR/+0.2 fWAR
Contract Status: Heading into Arbitration 3; Under Contract through 2024
Acquired at the trade deadline as an included piece for a trade supposed to be headlined by Frankie Montas, it turns out that Trivino was the much better Yankee in 2022. He was getting very unlucky while with the Oakland Athletics while pitching to a 6.47 ERA and 1.875 WHIP (much to the point that Baseball Reference gave him a -0.9 bWAR). However, the Yankees saw a guy who put up a 110 ERA+ in 2020 and a 120 ERA+ in 2021 and saw him as a candidate who needed some help.
In an odd twist for how the Yankees tend to like to encourage pitching, the Yankees cut down Trivino's desire to get the strikeout (it was at 12.7 K/9 with the A's) and instead pitch to just get outs. It worked tremendously. As the postseason rolled around and happened, Trivino was one of 4 relievers that the Yankees could trust. He'll be back and relied on heavily next year.
The Verdict: With each passing player, we can see how strong the 2023 bullpen will be. Lou Trivino will be another piece of that puzzle. Just think about who the Yankees will have out there: Clay Holmes, Wandy Peralta, Jonathan Loaisiga, Ron Marinaccio, Lou Trivino, Michael King. That's a very powerful top of the bullpen to have under control.
2022 Statistics (Overall): 60 Games, 11 Games Finished, 1-4 Record (.200 WP%), 4 Saves, 2.54 ERA (161 ERA+), 56.2 IP, 62 K's (9.8 K/9), 1.059 WHIP (2.46 FIP), +1.2 bWAR/+1.3 fWAR
2022 Statistics (NYY): 13 Games, 5 Games Finished, 0-0 Record, 3 Saves, 2.13 ERA (188 ERA+), 12.2 IP, 12 K's (8.5 K/9), 1.026 WHIP (3.43 FIP), +0.4 bWAR/+0.1 fWAR
Contract Status: Still in Pre-Arbitration; Under Contract through 2027
Speaking of players who have lots of control, we get to Scott Effross, who the Yankees acquired from the Chicago Cubs at the 2022 trade deadline. Personally, I wanted a different relief pitcher from the cubs (*cough* David Robertson *cough*), though I can understand the desire to bring in Effross instead. David Robertson had just this season of control. Effross is under control for the next 5 seasons. He was a bit of a risk (considering how fluky reliever seasons can be) but he was a prime candidate to buy in at early. His game performances speak for themselves.
However, it will be a while until we see him again. While he was like our last player on the list, Lou Trivino, by being a player traded at the deadline he is also like our 2nd to last player on our list, Chad Green, by needing to get Tommy John surgery. This surgery was announced to be needed on October 11th and has not yet happened as far as I am aware, which means Effross will likely be out for all of the 2023 season.
The Verdict: As a pre-arbitration player, there are no worries about the cost of Effross, though him already scheduled to miss the entire 2023 is a loss. Especially after the Yankees paid the Cubs with a nice piece of their own (Hayden Wesneski) to bring him in. Give him a year with no pressure to return and I'm looking forward to seeing what he will be able to do in 2024.
2022 Statistics: 3 Games, 0 Games Finished, 0-0 Record (.000 WP%), 13.50 ERA (46 ERA+), 0.2 IP, 1 K (13.5 K/9), 10.500 WHIP (27.11 FIP), -0.1 bWAR/-0.2 fWAR
Contract Status: Set to become a Free Agent
While I feel bad about Effross getting hurt in his 1st real season and needing Tommy John surgery, and for Chad Green needing it right before he was set to become a free agent for the first time, I just feel bad for Zack Britton in general. However, the fact that he still made $14 Million this year definitely takes away a bit from that.
I give Britton a lot of credit for trying to make his way back to the MLB during his Tommy John recovery, even when it meant he was shooting for a minute amount of games to be played at best. Unfortunately, I also think that his rush to make it back resulted in why he pitched just 0.2 innings. He got hurt again. He'll get another shot next year to pitch in relief for somebody, but the Yankees are too well situated and need to use the money elsewhere.
The Verdict: I wish Zack Britton all the best as he becomes a free agent again. Unfortunately, his time in New York ended on an injured note and unless he's willing to sign a 1-year "prove it" deal, I can't really see the Yankees going after him again. I respect the hustle, but it's now time to move on.
2022 Statistics: 29 Games, 7 Games Finished, 5-5 Record (.500 WP%), 2 Saves, 3.12 ERA (125 ERA+), 57.2 IP, 56 K's (8.7 K/9), 1.197 WHIP (3.60 FIP), +0.8 bWAR/+0.5 fWAR
Contract Status: Under Pre-Arbitration; Under Contract through 2027
It is not Clarke Schmidt's fault that he was used so poorly this season. Truthfully, when he was allowed to just air it out as a reliever he was pretty darn good. There was a stretch during this past season where it seemed that Schmidt was on the short list of trusted relievers. And then (as we've seen far too many times by this organization) they messed around with him. They tried to hold onto the idea of Schmidt being a starter. They kept him pitching meaningless games in Triple-A. They kept him from getting into a rhythm to become a reliever.
I think Clarke Schmidt will surprise people next year. I have faith that he could become one of their more solid pieces in the bullpen if he's used correctly. Just let him go into this offseason and Spring Training with the idea that he will be a reliever.
The Verdict: There is no reason to get rid of Clarke Schmidt. He should be a piece in the bullpen next season. Don't make him a starter. Don't stash him in Triple-A. Let him prove his way at the MLB level and if he can't succeed, sell another team on his potential. I don't think that's going to be the case if they let him play, though. I'm confident in Clarke.