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How Chad Green’s season-ending injury will affect the Yankees bullpen

Chad Green will miss the rest of 2022 with Tommy John surgery. What does that mean for New York?

MLB: New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Chad Green has been a steady, reliable presence in the Yankees bullpen since 2017. In fact, he hasn’t been on the injured list since his rookie season in 2016, which is long enough ago that he was still considered a starting pitching prospect. Now that manager Aaron Boone has confirmed that Green is indeed heading for Tommy John surgery to address his torn UCL, we have to look ahead at the impact his loss will have for New York.

The soon-to-be 31-year-old has had a decent 2022 season through his 14 appearances, with a few rough outings in there. We’ve certainly seen better versions of Green in previous years, but he was a dependable option for Boone to call upon. Green has relied on his best two pitches in his four-seam fastball and curveball. Although a small sample size, his fastball was decently effective this year, ranking in the 89th percentile for fastball spin. An average of 89.7 mph exit velocity on his four-seamer was the third-lowest it has been in his career. It was also the second-best it has ever been in whiff percentage and put away percentage. It wasn’t dominant though. A career-high 56.7-percent hard-hit rate on his fastball and only generated a career-low 25.5-percent swing and miss rate. A small sample size, as mentioned, but the lack of consistency on his heater caused a majority of his issues this season.

We’re not sure if we’re going to see Green back on the mound ever again for the Yankees as he enters free agency this off-season, but losing him as an option in the ‘pen will surely hurt the Yanks this year, nonetheless. Boone will now have to rely more on his other options to come out of the bullpen. Pitchers like Wandy Peralta, Miguel Castro, and Lucas Luetge will most likely be the ones to slide up in the pecking order with Green on the shelf. They’re not terrible by any means, but it’s also not ideal for the team, which liked them more in middle relief.

Peralta has had a good start to his season with a 1.38 ERA in 11 games. He’s also in the top 10 percent among pitchers is exit velocity, wOBA, and hard-hit rate. He’s mainly a two-pitch pitcher with his changeup and sinker, which have both been effective. He’s also been able to miss a lot of bats and make batters chase out of the zone. The downside to his play, however, is that when opponents make contact, they barrel it up. He also registers a lot of strikeouts and has allowed a decent amount of walks for only 13 innings pitched this year with five. He’s a good option, but we also have to remember that he’s a lefty and could create matchup problems for the Yankees being that Green is a righty. The same goes for Luetge, who most recently allowed a walk-off homer to Baltimore’s Anthony Santander. He’s had a decent season with some ups and downs, but is a southpaw and could work against the Yankees.

Acquired from the Mets, Miguel Castro hasn’t been all that inspiring on the bump. On one day, he can be dominant; on another, he can walk the ballpark. One of the few positives he possess is that he throws the ball hard, but it hasn’t mattered much this year. His walk percentage is in the bottom five percent of the league and has surrendered 5 runs in 13 innings. He isn’t going to replace what Green produced.

The team isn’t in dire need of another bullpen arm right now, but could look for one in the coming months. It stinks to see Green end his season — and maybe his Yankees career — this way. He’s been a workhorse since 2017 and has been a steady name in the ‘pen since then. Hopefully, Green gets a decent Tommy Kahnle-like contract this winter coming off a major injury.