Yankees take promising reliever back from Mets in Rule 5 Draft exhale

Mar 19, 2022; Sarasota, Florida, USA;   New York Yankees pitcher Zach Greene (34) throws a pitch
Mar 19, 2022; Sarasota, Florida, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Zach Greene (34) throws a pitch / Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Time to put an official capper on all that mid-December rationalizing about reliever Zach Greene's true talent level, Yankees fans!

After he was swiped by the New York Mets in the annual purge -- otherwise known as the Rule 5 Draft -- Yankee fans were forced to cross their fingers and hope that both Greene and Stephen Ridings weren't on the verge of being unlocked by Buck Showalter.

Of course, all the Rule 5 shuffling really meant was that Greene had to survive the entire season in Flushing, lest he be offered back to the Yankees. And, in the end, he didn't even make it through spring training with the title-contending Mets.

Greene was returned to the Yankees and assigned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday, where he'll try to replicate his 2022 season and vault his way back onto New York's 40-man roster. Currently, that group features several vulnerable spots, and the Bombers are always looking for bullpen arms to ride the Scranton Shuttle, as you all well know.

Yankees bring reliever Zach Greene back from New York Mets after Rule 5 thievery

Every time the Yankees lose a flame-throwing reliever in the Rule 5 Draft, Garrett Whitlock gets his wings. Luckily, this story still has the potential for a happy ending.

In 2022, Greene didn't get a lot of Bronx buzz at any point, but he still excelled, going 9-0 with a 3.42 ERA in 68.1 innings pitched. He whiffed 96 and walked 32, maintaining a solid WHIP of 1.21. There's a lot to like about his profile, even without overwhelming size (he stands 6-1) or pedigree (a ninth-round pick in 2019).

Safe to say that Greene's 2023 Spring Training didn't go quite as well as his last full campaign; in five outings with the Mets at big-league camp, he put up a 13.50 ERA with a 2.57 WHIP. Instead of a non-contender at the bottom of the pecking order picking the Mets' pockets, though, he mercifully made it back to the Yankees.

2023 might still be a make-or-break year for Greene's MLB odds, but at least that chance will come in pinstripes.