Yankees Could Turn to Adam Warren for Rotation Stability

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

With the New York Yankees rotation uncertain for 2017, they could turn to their old security blanket: veteran swing-man Adam Warren.

Although Adam Warren’s 2016 numbers are pretty ugly– 4.68 ERA and 5.12 FIP in 68.1 IP– he seemed to return to his old self after coming back to the Yankees in the Aroldis Chapman trade. One of the first people who Warren sought out upon returning to the Bronx was his long-time pitching coach Larry Rothschild, who already had a pretty good idea what had gone wrong with his former player in Chicago.

When asked what he was working on with Rothschild, Warren told beat reporter Chad Jennings, formerly of the Journal News:

"Just working on a couple of mechanical things, getting the slider back — the depth back to the slider. It’s pretty neat because you have a pitching coach who’s seen you for four or five years. He can tell when things are off. He’s already been very beneficial giving me feedback. Had the outing the other night and want to make another mechanical adjustment. It’ll be a process to get back to where I want to be, but having him there to point things out to me is a pretty big deal."

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With a 3.26 ERA and 4.30 FIP in 29 appearances for New York following the deal, it does indeed look like Rothschild fixed whatever had been off for Warren in his time with the Cubs.

That being the case, it seems possible that Warren could be one of the club’s better internal candidates for their two open rotation jobs next year.

It’s easy to forget just how good Warren was as a starter when he was finally given a chance in 2015. He made 17 starts for the team that year, pitching to a 3.66 ERA and 3.92 FIP, striking out 17% of batters and walking just 7.6%. He also did a solid job keeping the ball on the ground with a 45.5% GB rate.

Despite being one of their most successful starters that year, Warren was moved back to the bullpen when Ivan Nova made his return from TJ surgery. For whatever reason, the Yankees have been consistently reluctant to use Warren in the rotation, even though that is where he has the most value for them.

Warren is still just 29 and is controlled cheaply another two seasons. He’s not an ace, could be a quality fourth or fifth starter if given the chance. That has real value to a club with only three proven starters currently on the roster for next year.

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In all likelihood, Warren will once again act as the backup plan if the kids struggle. Luis Severino, Luis Cessa, Bryan Mitchell, and Chad Green will probably get the first crack at the open rotation jobs, but Warren is a nice safety net against injury or ineffectiveness from that group.