Bet the Yankees didn’t know when they woke up on Thursday that they’d be able to secure a 2018 MVP candidate and a key reliever on a 2020 NLCS team for free. If you’re Brian Cashman and you’re under sudden duress, though, all rules go out the window. “Team building for 2017” isn’t that funny anymore when you’re just trying to pick up the pieces.
It began on Thursday with the dual additions of Manny Bañuelos, added to the active roster after JP Sears’ late-night demotion rocking No. 68, as well as Matt Carpenter, a three-time All-Star with the Cardinals who reworked his swing this offseason with the help of Joey Votto, Matt Holliday and ex-big leaguer Tim Laker.
But Throwback Thursday wasn’t limited to just the big-league roster. About 45 minutes after Carpenter arrived in Tampa ready to unload suitcases (whatever it takes to get playing time!), ex-Yankees reliever/starter Shane Greene showed up on the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
After all these promotions and demotions, it turns out there was a little bit of extra room on that staff for Greene to rehabilitate his career after being released by the Dodgers earlier in the campaign.
And so, Greene popped onto the Yankees’ Triple-A roster less than two years removed from posting a 2.60 ERA (181 ERA+) during Atlanta’s shortened season and Bubble Playoff Run, during which he allowed just a single earned run in six innings pitched (with six strikeouts) across three rounds.
Will Greene rekindle that magic? If not, the risk is less than zero. If so, the second-half Yankees could get an injection from an unexpected source.
Yankees taking shot on RHP Shane Greene at Triple-A
2021 Greene could not find his form in Atlanta, opening the follow-up season with an 8.47 ERA in 19 games before joining the Dodgers midseason and performing better in limited duty (6.2 innings pitched, 7 K, 3 ER, 3 hit batters???).
He made it to 2022 on the Dodgers’ roster, too (on a minor-league deal), but was an early-season release during the team’s mid-April tweak. LA prefers relievers who can zip up and down the minor-league ladder with options, and Greene is decidedly not that, nor did he perform well enough to earn a permanent spot in their ‘pen.
But in New York, he’ll get a fresh chance beginning in Triple-A with an organization that was very formative for him. In 2014, Greene made his major-league debut, posting a 5-4 record and 3.78 ERA during a successful second half near-surge (with an inept offense backing him). Surprisingly, Greene was flipped to Detroit weeks later in the three-way deal that brought Didi Gregorius to New York (!) and Robbie Ray (!!!) to Arizona.
Adding Greene on a no-risk deal feels very Dodgers-esque, considering how often that team has committed money to bullpen arms who will be unavailable for nearly the length of the contract (Tommy Kahnle, Jimmy Nelson, Blake Treinen…).
There’s no “troubling” minor-league deal, and the Yankees could use mid-tier veteran bullpen depth, too, in addition to high-upside kids. Greene fits the bill, and could play a fireman role down the stretch.