Thursday, May 14, 2015

Adam Warren makes case to stick in Yankees’ rotation; will he?

New York Yankees starter Adam Warren got off to a rocky start in Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. He allowed all three runs in the first two innings, coughing up an early 2-0 Yankees’ lead.

Adam Warren
Photo credit: Keith Allison via Flickr
It certainly looked as though the writing was on the wall for Warren’s future in the rotation considering the return of Chris Capuano from the disabled list in the coming days. Warren has been fairly inconsistent in his turns through the rotation over the season’s first several weeks. Wednesday was no different, but it leaned toward better in the end.

Warren brushed aside the first two frames and tossed five scoreless thereafter keeping the Yankees close. It was Warren’s longest start of his career and he managed to strikeout a career-high seven batters in the process.

Here’s how the night unfolded for Warren:

First two innings – three runs, four hits (one homer, two doubles), one strikeout

Last five innings – no runs, three hits (all singles), six strikeouts, one walk

So, if the Yankees have not already made up their minds about who was being sent to the bullpen and who was being sent down to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Warren did not make things any easier.

Had Warren continued to get blown out, it might have been easier for them to say Warren is best suited in the bullpen where they could use someone who has lock-down potential and can last more than an inning if needed.

But, Warren showed great resolve in getting through those last five innings. He proved he can economize his pitches (he tossed just 94 in the outing) and last through the seventh. His longest stint this season before Wednesday was 5.2 innings.

Perhaps it is up to Chase Whitley’s performance in Thursday’s series finale against the Rays? If Whitley excels, they might want to keep him in New York and remain in the rotation. They can send Branden Pinder back to SWB and move Warren to the bullpen. Of Warren, Whitley and Capuano, Warren makes the most sense in a bullpen role considered the style of pitcher he can be in that circumstance.

But, if Whitley is awful, the Yanks could send him down to Triple-A to stay stretched out and keep Pinder, or make two moves by sending him down as well to bring up a different reliever.

For what it’s worth, I’m of the volition that Warren is best served in the bullpen right now. I do believe Warren can be a solid back of the rotation starter, but I sense that he’d be an even better setup man as evidenced by his last couple seasons in the role. And that's what the Yankees need at this time.

With David Carpenter struggling and Chris Martin on the disabled list, the Yankees could use someone like Warren to bridge the gap to Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller. It would also give manager Joe Girardi the option of using Warren for more than three outs so Betances (or Miller) would not have to extend themselves past one inning of work.

Further, should Capuano and everyone else in the rotation remain healthy, Masahiro Tanaka and Ivan Nova are due back sometime in June which would like push Warren out of the rotation anyway. Why not get him settled into the relief groove now? He surely wouldn’t be considered a rotation option if everyone is healthy.

How do you think the Yankees should move forward? Let me know in the comments below.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance baseball writer. Besides his work here, Christopher is a featured Yankees writer for He is also a correspondent for FantasyPros, where he writes a weekly column covering the closer/bullpen situations around Major League Baseball. 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.