Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Who loses roster spot when Masahiro Tanaka returns to Yankees?

Note: Please excuse the long break in writing on the site. I’ve been away on vacation. I’ll be writing here two-three times per week going forward and you can find my other work on the Yankees at SportsNet New York.

New York Yankees right-hander Adam Warren pitched into the seventh inning Sunday afternoon for the fourth straight game, but came up short in the win column as the offense failed to manufacture a single run. Warren has been quite effective in those starts, going 1-3 with a 2.70 ERA.

While the results for the team were not there, Warren’s performance has been good enough to maintain a spot in the rotation with Chris Capuano headed to the bullpen when Masahiro Tanaka returns to the club Wednesday. While that has been established, the Yankees have not decided who loses a spot on the 25-man roster. Let’s take a look at the options.

Capuano’s numbers (0-3, 6.39 ERA) are horrendous on the periphery, but a much lower FIP (4.20) signals that better results could be ahead for the southpaw. It’s entirely possible that Capuano does well in shorter bursts and provides the Yankees some length when a starter is unable to do so. Undeniably, Capuano is the swing-man right now.

So the question becomes; should the Yankees keep Esmil Rogers around since he was the long-man before moving Capuano over? This could go two ways.

By shifting Capuano to the bullpen, the Yankees have a glut of lefties (five at this point) and that might not play well in the long term despite the fact that none of the southpaws are LOOGYs.

Minimally, they would have Andrew Miller, Justin Wilson and Capuano as left-handers in the bullpen along with righties Dellin Betances and David Carpenter. Right now, lefties Chasen Shreve and Jacob Lindgren are also with the club. Shreve has been solid in his role, and Lindgren is a future stud.

That said, I highly doubt the Yankees would keep five lefties in the bullpen. Lindgren or Shreve would likely take the fall if the club felt five lefties was too much.

But that doesn't mean Rogers' job is safe. In my view, Rogers (4.94 ERA, 4.78 FIP) is expendable and is a detriment to the club at this point. Designating Rogers for assignment would allow the Yanks to bring back either Chris Martin, Branden Pinder or Danny Burawa to be the third righty in the pen.

So, here are the scenarios I see happening:

Option #1
Option #2
Miller (L)
Miller (L)
Betances (R)
Betances (R)
Wilson (L)
Wilson (L)
Capuano (L)
Capuano (L)
Carpenter (R)
Carpenter (R)
Lindgren or Shreve (L)
Lindgren or Shreve (L)
Martin, Pinder or Burawa (R)
Rogers (R)
DFA – Rogers


The Yanks could also send both Lindgren and Shreve down in exchange for two righties (either two new, or one plus Rogers), but I can't see that happening when essentially neither has done anything to warrant being sent down. I'd settle with Option #1, with Lindgren and any of the right-handers for now, forcing Shreve down, which stinks because he has been very good. Shreve seems like a duplicate arm with Capuano in the bullpen.

Of course the Yankees will have another decision to make when Ivan Nova is back from his rehab assignment, possibly later this month. Assuming there are no injuries at that point, the Yanks will have to evaluate the rotation and the bullpen once again. If Capuano is still faltering, and/or Rogers is still on the club and blowing up, the Yankees could move Warren to the pen at that point relieving another player of their roster spot.

What do you think the Yankees should do? Let me know in the comments below.

Logo courtesy of SportsLogos.net.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance baseball writer. Besides his work here, Christopher is a featured Yankees writer for SNY.tv. His baseball commentary has also been published on Yahoo Sports and linked multiple times on MLB Trade Rumors’ Baseball Blogs Weigh In. He is a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and the BYB Hub.



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