Chad Green was a swingman for the Yankees in 2016. The ERA was ugly, but it did have an alibi because he was not meant to be a starter. The strikeout rate and walk rates were starter worthy, but fastball/slider pitchers need both pitches to be excellent to go without a third pitch. Green did not have that, but the move to the bullpen allowed him to come in and throw fastballs with regularity as he threw the ol' number one 70 percent of the time last season. The crazy-high home run rate normalized in 2017 (0.52 HR/9) and Green became a valuable commodity in only leagues with five wins, sparkling ratios and 100-plus strikeouts in relief. His 2018 role will be more of the same as the bullpen should come back intact. Each season has a few relievers with phenomenal skills but no clear path to saves; Green is at the top of that list for 2018.
General manager Brian Cashman said Green will enter spring training as a starting pitcher, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports. Cashman noted that a return to the bullpen would be a fallback option for Green, who posted a remarkable 1.83 ERA, 0.74 WHIP and 103:17 K:BB across 69 innings while serving primarily as a reliever in 2017. The 26-year-old has flashed potential as a starter in the past, posting a 1.52 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 100:21 K:BB in 16 starts (94.2 innings) with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2016, though he's yet to put it together in the majors (6.10 ERA and 1.51 WHIP in nine big-league starts). His role for 2018 will be determined in spring training.
Green (5-0) earned his fifth win Wednesday, tossing 1.1 scoreless innings out of the bullpen with three strikeouts against Tampa Bay. Green has a great strikeout rate for the season, and he's been especially good at missing bats lately, fanning 20 without a walk in his last five appearance. It's tough to deploy long relievers in mixed leagues this time of year, but Green is more than a ratios play -- he's more appealing than a lot of streaming starting-pitching options.
Green allowed just one hit while striking out seven in 2.2 innings of scoreless relief during the first game of Wednesday's doubleheader against Cleveland, but didn't factor into the decision as his team fell 2-1. Green did a masterful job of keeping New York in the game after entering with a man on first and nobody out in the sixth inning. He allowed just one of his 44 pitches to be put in play, recording seven of eight outs via strikeout and the other on a caught stealing. There's little room for upward mobility in a Yankees bullpen that features three closer-worthy arms, but this tremendous effort shouldn't go unnoticed.
Green is set to earn some chances in the seventh inning moving forward, according to manager Joe Girardi, MLB.com's Bryan Hoch reports. Girardi removed Tyler Clippard from the seventh-inning role following his rough first half of the season. Although Adam Warren will likely earn most of the chances in the setup role, Green has been impressive during his action this season and should be able to garner a few opportunities of his own. Green has an ERA of 1.80, a phenomenal 0.69 WHIP, and a 47:8 K:BB over 35 innings this year. Since he pitched two scoreless innings (five strikeouts) during Friday night's loss to Boston, Green will be unavailable out of the bullpen for Saturday's contest.
Green allowed one run over two innings and struck out two in Wednesday's loss to Toronto. The 26-year-old entered in the sixth with starter Michael Pineda lasting only three innings. Green gave up a solo home run to Russell Martin in the seventh, which tied the game 6-6. The right-hander has a 2.03 ERA and 0.77 WHIP with 38 strikeouts across 31 innings this season, and has proven to be a valuable long reliever out of the Yankees' bullpen.