Now that the lights have dimmed on the Yankees hopes of bringing Shohei Ohtani to the Bronx, it’s time to spotlight their starting pitching needs for 2018. The Yankees are looking at a starting rotation next season featuring Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray and Jordan Montgomery, with Brian Cashman quoted as saying that Chad Green will be vying for a starting job in Spring Training. Yankee's fans watched in 2017 as Green’s star ascended throughout the season in remarkable relief performances.
Chad Green proved to be the deadliest weapon in a star-studded relief corps. He began 2017 in Triple-A and was called up on May 9th. From there, through the ALDS, he bucked the trend of the one inning reliever, navigating lineups and recording 6-8 outs when called upon. Of all relievers who threw at least 40 innings, Chad Green finished in the top 10 in the following categories: K/9 (8th, 13.43), ERA (5th, 1.61), FIP (4th, 1.75), xFIP (5th, 2.49), and fWAR (6th, 2.3), all while throwing 67 innings.
Like many long relievers, Green was a shaky starter without a third pitch when he made his Yankees debut in 2016. He made four starts for the Yankees in 2016 before being shut down with a sprained elbow ligament. As a reliever and a starter in 12 games that season, Green posted a 2-4 record, 4.73 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 42 2/3 innings. Once he was brought up in 2017 as a reliever, he was electrifying and showed an ability to stretch out effectively over multiple innings. Yankee fans hope he will bring the same focus and success to the starting role as he did in relief and join the ranks of Severino, Tanaka and the others as an elite starting pitcher.
The Yankees have other options, other than Green, to fill the vacancy of a fifth starter. In Triple-A, Chance Adams is just waiting for a promotion to the big leagues, and it does not take any imagination to see the Yankees reaching out to CC Sabathia, now a free agent, and bringing him back for another year. Does it make sense for the Yankees to dip into the free agent market for a starting pitcher? Chad Green has the best opportunity to win the final roster spot, but it will be interesting to see who the Yankees bring in as competition for the job.
-Chris Northrop (@ringoangel653)
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