Here is my audition piece for the open writing position. Thank You.
I’d like to start out this piece with a "One of These Things is Not Like the Other" featuring the Yankees bullpen. Below are the links to Baseball Reference pages for the main arms in the Yankees bullpen. Direct your attention to the career summary stat line under Standard Pitching. You guess which one is not like the others.
You guessed right (or wrong), Adam Warren does not seem to fit. By the numbers, Warren could not hold a candle to the rest of the pack. He has the highest FIP (3.82), second highest ERA (3.45), lowest K/9 (7.8), and highest HR/9 (7.9). I believe he is the weakest link on the Yankees roster.
To me, Warren is the weakest link because his ability to perform has diminished, and it shows in how he is deployed. Warren used to be one of the main relief arms when Girardi needed a solid inning. With Betances, Chapman, Robertson, Green, and Kahnle getting the high-leverage innings, Warren has been relegated to long-relief outings. Obviously, there will always be a need for bullpen pitchers that can throw multiple innings in a single outing. Whether you are blowing out the opposition (or are being blown out) it is counterintuitive to use your high-leverage pitchers in low-leverage situations, unless you are trying to keep them fresh.
Consider for a moment how Warren was used in the playoffs last year. He pitched a total of 4.2 innings. Girardi deployed Warren in game 1 of the ALDS in the 4th inning with New York trailing by three. Warren surrendered a run. He was again deployed in the ALCS in games 3 and 7. Both times, there was a wide margin between teams. The Yankees wound up winning game 4 by seven and losing game 7 by four. Clearly, Warren was used to mop up innings in games that were already decided.
Yes, you can make arguments for other weak links. A rookie manager, rookie infielders, a wonky Betances, a struggling Gardner and Stanton, and Gary’s defense are all legitimate areas of concern. However, keep the following in mind:
1: Boone would not be manager if the front office was not totally confident in his ability to manage the New York Yankees.
2: Torres and Andujar would not have been promoted had the front office not felt them ready. Yes, Andujar was promoted because Drury was hurt, yet notice how Drury has not been rushed back.
3: We’ve seen wonky Betances before, and we’ll probably see him again. Yet each time, he has adjusted and returned to his dominant self.
4: Gardner and Stanton are both experienced big leaguers. Eventually, they will turn things around and produce.
5: As for Gary’s defense, the Yankees front office is confident he can improve. If they were not, you better believe Gary would not be the starting catcher on a contending team.
Roster spots are not easy to obtain. As the season progresses, and players return from the DL, ask yourself this: "Who can better perform the long-relief, spot-start pitching duties better, Adam Warren or Domingo German, or maybe a player in Triple-A? Who is more likely to stay off the DL and be ready to perform when needed? Who is cheaper?" At the trade deadline, if the Yankees acquire another starter (which they should), it is incredibly likely that (right, wrong, or indifferent) Jordan Montgomery gets bumped to the pen. Would the Yankees help solve the roster crunch by throwing in Warren as a trade sweetener? I think so. After all, Warren is a free agent after this season and is making a reasonable 3.3 million.
Warren is by no means a bad player, and I do not wish him ill. However, at this point, there are players in the Yankees farm system who are cheaper, can perform better, and are ready to take his job. That’s baseball.