Yankee starting pitcher Shane Greene traveled a roundabout path to the majors. He underwent Tommy John surgery while in college and gained 4-5 miles on his fastball after the surgery. Selected by the Yankees in the 15th round of the 2008 draft, Greene progressed through the minors. Greene won the 2013 Kevin Lawn Award as the Yankees Minor League Pitcher of the Year for 2013. After starting the season in Triple-A, Greene was promoted to the majors only when the Bombers suffered an epidemic of injuries to their starting staff.
Greene has made the most of his opportunity in the Bronx. He is 4-1 with an ERA of 3.09 and has pitched better than anyone could have hoped. He has failed to go at least five innings only once in nine starts this season. Last night, Greene shut down the vaunted Detroit Tiger lineup for the second time this season, yielding just two runs on five hits in seven innings. Greene has excelled by limiting his walks and throwing strikes. He has issued only 17 free passes this season against 54 punch outs.
As solid as Greene has been, if the injury bug doesn’t strike the Yankees with the vengeance that it did, Greene would have spent the entire season in Scranton. Now, because he has pitched so well he has to be included in the Yankees’ future plans. The Yankees projected rotation for 2015 looks like the following: Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, David Phelps, Michael Pineda and Greene. Hiroki Kuroda will likely retire and Ivan Nova may not be ready for the start of the season. The Yankees will also likely sign a free agent or two to bolster the staff. They may re-sign Brandon McCarthy and/or go after a big name free agent like Jon Lester or Max Scherzer.
Greene, however, cannot be ignored. He will have to be given a shot to start at the major league level in spring training. If the Yankees cannot find a spot for him, he will suddenly become a very tradable commodity as a young starting pitcher who has had success this season. Perhaps he could be a key piece in a trade for some offense this winter. Trades for a true impact bat like Troy Tulowitzki or Giancarlo Stanton are probably pipe dreams but perhaps the Yankees could pry a Ben Zobrist or Chase Utley loose.