Their first attempt on Saturday was a completely unexpected swing.
Eventually, New York will target external replacements for King — objectively either their best or second-best reliever this season. Saturday’s roster shuffle proved, though, that some of their previous best-laid plans aren’t good enough in the wake of the King news.
When the Yankees demoted Clarke Schmidt, their intention was to stretch him out as a starter for the remainder of the season whenever the team’s other options needed a blow. Now? He’s back, and just might be groomed as a multi-inning relief option in King’s stead.
Schmidt may have been the corresponding move for King’s trip to the 60-Day IL, but the team’s second attempt at patching up their bullpen hole was far more unexpected.
Outfielder Tim Locastro also went back to Scranton, replaced by 2014 Yankee Shane Greene. Greene was once upon a time dealt in the three-way Didi Gregorius trade. After brief stints with the Dodgers in 2021 and 2022, he rejoined the Yankees’ system mid-year, and will now get his first taste of the Bronx since ’14.
Yankees promote Shane Greene, Clarke Schmidt to replace Michael King
In 24 big-league innings earlier this season, Schmidt allowed just 16 hits, but walked 12; his 4.07 FIP didn’t quite match with his 3.00 ERA and 128 ERA+. Still, he showed the uniquely King-ly ability to wriggle out of jams, specifically in extra innings with a ghost runner placed in front of him. In five minor-league starts after his demotion, Schmidt has struck out 25 men in 17.1 innings, but maintains a 4.15 ERA. In essence, he’s been good, but hasn’t quite been as good as the man he’ll be replacing.
Greene, a complete wild card, has struck out 31 men in 28.2 Triple-A innings this season, but has walked 12 and allowed 30 hits for an elevated 1.47 WHIP.
Will his veteran savvy come in handy at the big-league level? Will he be used in anything more serious than mop-up duty for his first few weeks with the Yankees? A returning Ron Marinaccio seems like a better high-leverage option, and when his rehab is finished, there’s still a chance he replaces either Schmidt or Greene ahead of the deadline.
If both Greene and Schmidt find their niches, though, there’s always the potential of an eventful Aroldis Chapman DFA.