Yankees Need Adam Warren Every Fifth Day

by Nik Swartz | Posted on Monday, March 30th, 2015
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New York Yankees pitcher Adam Warren

New York Yankees pitcher Adam Warren

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi announced Friday Masahiro Tanaka will get the Opening Day start against the Toronto Blue Jays April 6th. This will be Tanaka’s first Opening Day start, which ends a six year run by former ace CC Sabathia getting the Opening Day nod for the Yankees.

Following Tanaka in the Yankees rotation will be Michael Pineda, Sabathia and Nathan Eovaldi, with the team waiting to announce the fifth starter. Girardi said Friday the fifth sport in the rotation is still up for grabs.

Girardi may not have announced a fifth starter yet, but Yankees GM Brian Cashman announced earlier in the week Adam Warren is the favorite to land the final spot in the rotation. Warren has had a nice spring and looks like he could be a solid backend starter for the team.

Warren continued his solid spring Thursday giving up one run with five strikeouts in 3.2 innings. Warren has put in 16.2 innings of work this spring, posting a 2.70 ERA with 11 strikeouts.

On the surface Warren looks like the best pitcher the Yankees have to slot in as the number five starter. Why Girardi is leaving the door open for another pitcher to win the fifth spot doesn’t make much sense. The only scenario that does makes sense is Girardi fears losing Warren as the teams’ long man, and thinks having Warren come out of the pen is more important than having him in the starting rotation.

The only other pitcher the Yankees have to slot in as the fifth starter is veteran pitcher Esmil Rogers. Rodgers has pitched decent this spring. In his 12.1 innings of work Rogers has a 2.92 ERA with 11 strikeouts.

The problem with Rogers is he’s never had any real success as a starter before and it’s very difficult to imagine him being able to handle pitching in the AL East every fifth day.

Warren has a much higher ceiling than Rogers, and has the potential to be much more than a fill in starter to bookend the Yankees rotation this season.

“I feel like pitching is pitching,” Warren said after throwing the first three innings of the Yankees’ 6-5 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays Thursday. “I’ve proved I can pitch at this level. I just got to go out there and learn from some of the guys who have started and learned the mindset of being aggressive, attacking always, getting early outs. But I feel like I’ve got the stuff. It’s just going out there and executing pitches.”

If Girardi is concerned about losing the teams’ top long man it is understandable, especially when he knows he is heading into the season with a rotation held together with duct tape and prayers, so knowing he can go to Warren to eat innings on any given night does make him a valuable asset for the teams’ pen, but Rogers should be able to do the same thing.

Warren has been one of the top mid-innings pitchers for the Yankees and seeing Rogers coming out of the pen early doesn’t instill the same confidence as Warren, but there has to be some confidence Rogers can do the job. If there isn’t that same confidence in Rogers there’s no reason he should even make the team; if Rogers can’t step into the role Warren had last season, the Yankees have the depth to mix and match until they do find the guy who can come in and pitch long relief when it’s needed.

When the dust settles Warren will be the fifth starter in the Yankees rotation, which will mix things up for Girardi when he has to go to the pen, but the 2015 Yankees strength is the bullpen and whoever is called upon to come in early, the team should be confident any can do the job. Warren is needed in the starting rotation and he has more than earned the job this spring.

Follow Nik Swartz on Twitter @Sweetnesz13


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Nik Swartz
About the Author

Graduate of Penn State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communication and Psychology, currently a counselor in Philadelphia. I started writing professionally in 1999 as the Penn State beat writer for the Milton Standard/Lewisburg Daily Journal in Pa. I have worked at eight daily newspapers as a Sports Writer/Editor - covering all high school sports, the NFL, professional baseball and professional hockey. A few sites I've written and/or contributed articles for include Rant Sports, Bleacher Report, FanSided and Pro Football Spot. Follow Nik on Twitter @Sweetnesz13.

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