The All-Star break is almost upon us, and the Yankees are below .500 with dwindling playoff aspirations. Given the team’s position in the standings, it would be wise to prioritize playing time for their younger players. Starting pitcher Chad Green fits the bill and really deserves to start every five days the rest of the season. Green has been very successful this year in Triple-A and has plenty of innings left to throw. Keeping Green in the majors would allow the Yankees to evaluate him for next season and beyond.
On Saturday afternoon, the Yankees optioned the 25-year-old right-hander to Triple-A Scranton. The move seems to be temporary though, because it keeps Green in line to pitch on normal rest during and after the All-Star break. Joe Girardi suggested that this was a possibility, too.
Since getting called back up at the beginning of July, Green has had two starts. The first was a nice outing against the Padres where he pitched six innings and gave up one earned run on a solo homer. His second start was last Friday against the Cleveland Indians. Green didn’t fare as well, giving up seven earned runs, including four home runs, in 4.1 innings.
Green’s poor outing shouldn’t be a cause for alarm because he was up against a much tougher opponent than in his first start. The Indians are currently in first place in the AL Central and are tied for ninth in home runs (112) in all of baseball.
One of the biggest reasons to keep Green in the major league rotation is his success in Triple-A this season. In Scranton, Green has thrown 81.2 innings with a 1.54 ERA. Unlike his last two starts in the majors, Green rarely gave up home runs in Triple-A, owning an incredible 0.22 HR/9 rate. If he can come anywhere near that success in the majors, he’ll have a spot in the rotation for years to come.
Another reason to stick with Green is the Yankees’ spot in the standings right now. The team has really struggled to get any consistency and entering Sunday, they were seven and a half games out of first place in the AL East. The team was only five and a half games out of the last Wild Card spot, but they would have to pass six teams to get there which is a tall order for a team that hasn’t even been two games over .500 since April 12th.
Even if the Yankees are set on competing for the Wild Card, it still might make the most sense to keep Green in the majors. The team’s rotation has had very little success outside of Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia. Michael Pineda had a great June and is probably assured of a rotation spot. If the team moves Ivan Nova to the bullpen, they could go with a rotation that includes Green and Nathan Eovaldi the rest of the season. They also have Luis Severino in Triple-A, who is most likely going to get a call up when the Yankees think he is ready. With Nova in the bullpen, that would leave six players for five spots. Outside of a trade or an injury, Joe Girardi would have to choose to put someone else in the bullpen or go with an unlikely six-man rotation.
It will be very interesting to see how the Yankees handle this situation. If they decide to keep Green and Severino in Triple-A, it might mean that the team thinks they can compete for the Wild Card spot. If they want to see what they have in Green and Severino though, they’ll find a way to get them innings at the major league level. Given the team’s performance so far this season, they should do exactly this.