Yankees sign Derek Lowe


Beard’s gotta go, just ask the other Derek. (Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

CC Sabathia is headed to the DL with elbow stiffness, and the Yankees have replaced him with another innings eater. Marc Carig reports that the Bombers have signed Derek Lowe while Joel Sherman adds that he has agreed to pitch out of the bullpen as a long reliever. He’s expected to join the team on Monday. David Phelps will start in Sabathia’s place on Monday, and Ryota Igarashi will come up to fill the vacant roster spot for tomorrow. The Yankees have an open 40-man roster spot, so no additional move is required.

Lowe, 39, was released by the Indians earlier this week, meaning the Yankees will only be on the hook for the pro-rated portion of the league minimum. The veteran right-hander pitched to a 5.52 ERA (4.47 FIP) in 21 starts and 119 innings for Cleveland this year, though he walked more batters (45) than he struck out (41). He also got hammered in his last dozen starts, pitching to an 8.80 ERA. That’s why he was released. Lowe still generates a ton of ground balls (60.0%) with his upper-80s sinker, though left-handers have just crushed him this year (.412 wOBA).

Although he hasn’t pitched out of the bullpen since 2007, Lowe spent a number of years closing for the Red Sox earlier in his career. He’s familiar with a relief role, so it shouldn’t be a huge adjustment. The Yankees also don’t have to worry too much about him and the whole New York/big market/pennant race pressure thing after all his time in Boston, plus they know first hand that he can handle a playoff-type atmosphere. I don’t put much stock in that stuff, but at least there are no concerns here.

I kinda had a feeling this was coming after we learned about Sabathia’s injury only because it was an easy move to make. Lowe was a free agent with a fixed price (practically free), and a guy who could soak up some innings without issue — he’s thrown at least 180 innings every year since 2001. Adam Warren figures to remain in Triple-A for the time being, but he was the other alternative for Monday’s start and Sabathia’s roster spot. Lowe’s signing is a depth move, another example of an older and accomplished player accepting a reduced role with the Yankees.

Categories : Transactions


  1. DERP says:

    Should bring some great veteran presents to the clubhouse.

  2. DERP says:

    But seriously, this guy sucks.

  3. G says:

    And here I was hoping Phelps could finally just start… But of course they need him for the pen…

    Let’s just hope that if CC misses two starts we can win at least one of Lowe’s fill ins.

    • AC says:

      Phelps is starting Monday. Read the article. Lowe replaces Phelps as the long man. Low cost move. Worthy of a shot. Warren as u remember wasn’t the answer to bring up

      • G says:

        Know now. It was posted after I commented here. Very happy with this, and yes I agree Warren isn’t the answer. I said he was the wrong choice the first time. Not a fan.

  4. Countryclub says:

    Phelps is starting.

  5. Cody Ransom says:

    So he’s the next Mitre/Gaudin….great

    • roy in GA says:

      No, he is the guy to bring in when PHIL HUGHES is tiring and you someone with a nasty sinker who can induce a ground ball. DEREK LOWE had an excellent first half this year and terrible second half.

      Some of this story should be about JOBA CHAMERLAIN maybe not being ready to pitch critical spots out of the bullpen.

      • Angelo says:

        Or maybe Derek Lowe regressed to a terrible pitcher because his strike out rate is lower than his walk rate. There’s plenty of logic in why people aren’t excited about him, even as a reliever

      • marty l says:

        does anyone believe joba will ever approach 2007 levels? i don’t and neither does girardi. do you really trust joba in a close game in october? (answer should ne no). trade bait, but i guess he fetches not much.

        • Heisenberg's Hat says:

          Joba in 2007 was a fluke. The guy gave up one run over a seven week period. People act like that’s the REAL Joba Chamberlain, when the reality is that no one is that good.

  6. The Real Greg says:

    From what I’m hearing, I bet Phelps will start and Lowe will be the longman

  7. Hoss says:

    Who is getting squeezed from the 40 man roster?

  8. Brian says:

    Why not just call up Warren?

  9. 28 this year says:

    This is fine. Save Warren for another time, use Lowe for mop up duty once and release him. No biggie, might as well have the extra depth until rosters expand, who knows what injury might happen next, might as well make sure there are enough bodies to withstand injuries.

  10. JimmieFoxx says:

    So I guess I’m the only one who would prefer Lowe just take CC’s place in the rotation?

  11. Ichy balls says:

    Warren sucks
    But Ortiz 10-5 with a 3 pt era why not

  12. Derek Lowe's Mom says:

    I like the idea.

  13. Ichy balls says:

    Cliff lee anyone?

  14. viridiana says:

    Ortiz is terrible. Career ERA over 5.

  15. Arya says:

    This is just big big trouble. I fear CC is gone for a while given this move. And Cashman did nothing at the break to improve. I’ve been calling for Cliff Lee ever since the deadline. Find a way to get it done.

    • Bunt Gardner says:

      You mean reinvent the regulations that govern MLB waiver trades?

    • Angelo says:

      To expand on what Bunt Gardner was saying, The Yankees are far down the waiver wire list. If any team, such as Dodgers pluck Cliff Lee from waivers, the Yankees will not have the ability to try and make a trade for him, since the Dodgers would be the only team with the rights to do so. Almost every team in baseball would have to pass on Cliff Lee before the Yankees got a chance to do so.

      And there are plenty of reasons not to get Cliff Lee. The price would probably be at least one premium prospect and several other guys, and the Phillies have refused to eat any money on the four years left on Lee’s contract. It would also make it more difficult for the Yankees to re-sign Cano, Granderson, Swisher…or anyone else because of the austerity cap for 2014.

  16. Gonzo says:

    But that means the team has to pay for another WS ring. Not free!

  17. CUYanks says:

    Brent Lillibridge is hitting home runs off of the Red Sox.

  18. Bob Buttons the Cat says:

    Another member of “should have done this back in 2005″ club, along with Ichiro, Andruw et al.

    • Angelo says:

      That’s the year Cano and Wang started making a name for themselves…

      Then there was Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon…

      Melky made his debut…

      Good times

      • Bob Buttons the Cat says:

        Randy Johnson’s good year with us (while ridding us of Vazquez for the first time)

        Sheff and Matsui flanked Bernie in the outfield. At times painful but fun to watch.

        Rivera, Jeter and Posada still playing pretty well..

        Last year that MVP baseball came out.

        Good times.

  19. I hope Phelps get a chance to start over Lowe. He’s been garbage for The Indians.

  20. Nice Scheister says:

    I miss AJ Burnett. I really do.

  21. Ichy balls says:

    Is phelps even stretched out to go more than 3 innings?

  22. Kevin Maas says:

    RAB – the only place on Earth where 41 is more than 45.

  23. Cuso says:

    The only way this is interesting is if the Yankees & Reds make the WS, somehow Lowe makes the WS roster and then charges the dugout from the bullpen & bitchslaps Dusty.

    …well, I guess not the “only” way. But this is the only thing that popped in my mind. Hopefully he can provide some BP depth to come in and get an important double play here and there.

    • Laz says:

      He has been pretty good vs Righties. So as long as he isn’t facing lefties, Joe will probably turn him into another specialist.

  24. Nathan says:

    Meh, at least they aren’t paying him much and he won’t be counted on for much more than mop-up duty or low leverage spots.

    Could have been worse…they could have signed him when he was a FA.

  25. Andruw's Smile says:

    Lowe= Qualls to me, except he can provide more innings to eat up. Don’t see any negative here, they probably don’t want to expose Warren to another beating right now. Lowe can take it, and hey, maybe he gains a couple MPH on his sinker in the pen and becomes a ground ball machine again.

  26. The DonSlaught says:

    This signing gave me an instant case of The Lulz

  27. Tom says:

    I like the signing, I think Lowe will surprise some folks.

    Depending on the severity of the injury you are talking about needing to get 12-18 serviceable innings out of the guy. Whether it’s long relief or starting after the next start, he’s here to eat innings not provide quality starts. 2 to 3 starts of 6IP, 4ER or 5IP, 3ER would be fine if he becomes the fill-in starter…. simply eating innings in the pen would also be fine if Phelps stays as the starter.

    I’m wondering if CC and Andy get back toward the end of August/Sept and rosters expanding, if Girardi will go back to a 6 man rotation again in Sept.

  28. Rainbow Pinstripes says:

    Once again… he’s the 25th man on the roster. He will not be used much, and will not appear in any game pass the sixth inning unless it’s a blowout. And he’s better than Qualls, IMO.

  29. LemdaGem says:

    Derek Lowe is one of those August add-ons that if used in situations where he can succeed with good defense and a decent offense behind will eat up innings as necessary. Larry Rothschild will have his hands full getting Lowe to make the needed adjustments for the AL East division race and key match ups with post season contenders.
    My verdict is dependent on the stretch run to late September. All bets are off.

  30. FreeAgentSignee says:

    Welcome Derek!

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