1. Chad Green
In much the same way that Joey Gallo’s Savant page indicates there’s a major comeback on his horizon, 30-year-old reliever Chad Green’s indicates that Yankee fans could be in for a bumpy ride during his final season under contract.
Though Green escaped the homestand without allowing an earned run in four outings (3.2 innings) against elite competition, the rest of his peripherals weren’t exactly promising. He was as predictable as ever with his increasingly limited pitch mix, finishing in the 8th percentile in strikeout percentage and 9th percentile in hard-hit rate.
Despite Green’s luck-based stinginess in the run scoring department, he was hit hard and fairly often, unable to miss bats with his fastball, which used to be a magic weapon.
When Aaron Boone brought the right-hander in to clean up an inherited runner from Clay Holmes late in Thursday night’s game, it seemed one layer too cute. Boone was hoping that Green’s fly ball tendencies would result in an easier out off the bat of Raimel Tapia rather than a well-placed grounder. Green rewarded Boone’s faith by immediately being ripped through the hole by Tapia, then tossing a cement mixer to Alejando Kirk that easily could’ve been deposited onto the short porch, turning a 2-0 lead into a 3-2 deficit in the blink of an eye.
Instead, Green lucked out. Kirk fouled that one off, then eventually banged into a well-struck double play. But that doesn’t mean we’ve omitted the moment from our collective memory.
Do the Yankees also “need more” from Aroldis Chapman? Absolutely. His outing on the wet mound Thursday was unforgivable. For better or worse, though, that’s how he’s always been. He’ll follow three consecutive stunning outings with an absolute slop show, typically when the conditions are less than perfect. If fans don’t know how to reckon with it by now, they never will.
Green, on the other hand, has roller-coastered from spectacular to unreliable and back again, and in his likely final year with the team, he now might’ve lost most of his margin for error. As relievers like Ron Marinaccio and JP Sears challenge for higher-leverage opportunities in one of the deepest Yankee bullpens of the modern era, Green will need to quickly prove he can still miss bats. Otherwise, he risks a deep demotion — and, if Boone’s quick Chapman hook on Thursday is any indication of his 2022 mentality, he won’t wait long to act.