Yankees: Historic Michael King stat proves he deserves longer leash

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 16: Michael King #73 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on April 16, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 16: Michael King #73 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on April 16, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
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Since Yankees fans would rather be aggravated than pleased, chatter about Red Sox reliever Garrett Whitlock’s dominance has owned this space over the past few months.

The anger there is warranted. To be fair, the Yankees failed to protect Whitlock, instead choosing scuffling reliever Brooks Kriske, allowing him to walk to Boston and open his MLB career with 13.1 innings worth of scoreless outings before finally surrendering a few earned runs.

Unfortunately, while distracted by both Whitlock’s brilliance and his constant ups and downs to the minor-league level, we failed to notice that Michael King is essentially doing the same thing in the Bronx.

Interesting.

King showed up during Sunday’s game immediately after Kyle Schwarber had tattooed a game-tying home run off starter Domingo German, then proceeded to prevent the inning from getting messier.

It wasn’t his strongest outing of the season. King allowed a single, then erased his own runner with a double play in the seventh, then retired two and gave up a second single in the eighth.

It did get logged as scoreless, though, which is becoming a regular occurrence for the sinker specialist. Thanks to his double play, he registered 1.1 innings of spotless relief, placing him among only three other relievers in franchise history under a certain metric.

The Yankees should be using franchise history-making Michael King more often.

Hey, considering the rest of the bullpen has been extremely taxed to start the season, and we’ve already seen Chad Green and Jonathan Loaisiga falter recently, it seems prudent to maybe use King more often to put out fires? Instead of, say, demoting him to the minors after three-inning outings?

Not only has King tossed several scoreless outings in a row, but he’s typically done so under less than ideal conditions. He could’ve made a spot start against the Rays several weeks ago, but instead entered to caddy for Nick Nelson, who admitted in the game’s aftermath that he didn’t feel comfortable starting.

Typically, the Yankees have chosen to ride King like he’s the last man in the bullpen instead of a valued commodity, using his remaining options like Chiclets.

Perhaps it’s time for the team to rethink that?

King won’t be spotless all season long, but he clearly shouldn’t be an innings-eater or white flag to be waived mid-blowout.

There’s no reason to have a reliever this good spend time in Scranton just so people with less endurance can stay on the MLB roster.