Certain sects of New York Yankees fans are about to see what it’s like when their tweets come to life, as the Bombers will be without fireman Chad Green for an extended period of time after he left Thursday’s action for forearm soreness, the absolute worst place to be sore.
With Green in his walk year and approaching free agency, the right-hander may have thrown his final pitch for the Yankees midway through a Baltimore meltdown.
It was quite likely, already, that Green would have to be replaced full-time next season, considering the likelihood of the Yankees paying a 30-year-old late-inning non-closer on a multi-year deal.
Still, Green’s been a stalwart of this bullpen since 2017, and has performed at an above-average level for nearly his entire tenure, though he ended up on the short end of the stick in far too many blown high-leverage opportunities in 2021. That’s what happens when you spend five full seasons getting into exclusively high-leverage opportunities, but … still, the luck regression stick hit Green hard last season, leaving his confidence in his two-pitch mix lacking.
Even in that “career-worst” year, though … 0.884 WHIP, 99 strikeouts in 83.2 innings, and a 3.12 ERA, wrecked by the gopher ball. That innings total is unfortunately the most important number, as overuse fears calcified Thursday when Green’s arm finally surrendered.
The Yankees will need something far better than replacement-level production from whoever fills Green’s shoes. They have a few internal options who’ll need to step up in the meantime, but if bullpen reinforcements were already a need at the 2022 deadline, that need just doubled in intensity in the blink of an eye.
3 Yankees bullpen targets to replace injured Chad Green
3. Internal: Ron Marinaccio, Wandy Peralta, Clarke Schmidt?
For the time being, the Yankees need to promote someone from within their bullpen to take over more regular seventh-inning duty. After being bizarrely shelved for a 10-day chunk, Wandy Peralta showed on Thursday afternoon why he became such an integral bullpen piece in 2021.
Far less volatile than his middle-innings running mates so far in 2022 (God bless Miguel Castro, but his implosion potential is through the roof), Peralta holds a 1.38 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 13 innings thus far, using his devastating changeup to tame batters from both sides of the plate. His 3.02 FIP indicates some regression is coming, but regression that would still leave him as a top bullpen option moving forward. In limited duty, the 30-year-old is in the 97th percentile in terms of limiting high exit velocity, and his Statcast page glows starkly red (minus the strikeouts, something he’ll never be able to induce at an exceptional level). Without Green, Peralta should be getting the seventh inning several times a week — though the Yankees’ current bullpen seems to be employing Swiss Army knife-style versatility.
In need of a strikeout? Maybe Clarke Schmidt starts to appear in the seventh or eighth a few times instead of in the middle innings for three-inning savior duty. Schmidt’s missed bats all season long, spinning his fastball in the 87th percentile so far despite yo-yo’ing back and forth to Triple-A.
Though Ron Marinaccio hasn’t replicated his early April success, he’s also earned a roster spot during Green’s absence, though his recent inability to control OR command his running fastball leaves him as the last option out of the ‘pen rather than a direct fill-in for Green. He’ll need to show quite a bit more composure before he’s trusted in high-leverage chances, but he’ll likely linger on the roster while JP Sears gets work in Scranton.