Thoughts following the Aroldis Chapman signing


Late last night, the Yankees landed their high-priced closer and agreed to sign Aroldis Chapman to a five-year contract worth $86M. It includes no-trade protection and an opt-out after the third year. Joel Sherman and Bob Nightengale say Chapman turned down more money from the Marlins, who offered $87M with opt-outs after years one and two. Anyway, I have some thoughts on this.

1. From a baseball perspective, the signing makes sense in a vacuum (get good players) but I’m not convinced it’s the right move for the Yankees at this point in time. The last thing a mediocre to bad team needs is an expensive closer, and the Yankees very well might be a mediocre to bad team with an expensive closer in 2017. Maybe 2018 too. Realistically, what’s the upside on the 2017 Yankees, barring no other significant moves this offseason? Maybe 88 wins and a wild card spot? That’s the upper bounds of reasonable expectations. We saw this past season that having a dominant bullpen doesn’t mean a whole lot when the rotation and offense don’t hold up their end of the bargain, and neither the offense nor the rotation have been improved in a meaningful way this winter. Any improvement will stem from the kids coming into their own. The Yankees are paying a lot of money now to buy Chapman for the future, which would be fine if relievers weren’t so damn volatile. The history of long-term contracts for bullpen arms, even elite ones, is so very ugly. The Yankees are banking on Chapman being an outlier. Good luck with that.

2. It’s very possible, if not likely, the timing of the opt-out clause means that just as the Yankees are ready to be serious World Series contenders again, they’re going to lose their closer. That’s the best case scenario, right? The kids develop well, the Yankees sign some great players during the 2018-19 mega-free agent class, and they’re ready to raise some hell during the 2019 season. Sure, the kids could develop quicker than expected and things can happen sooner. That would be a surprise, I think. Maybe I’m just a pessimist. The odds are pretty good, probably higher than the Yankees are willing to admit, they’re a legitimate contender with Chapman for all of one season before the opt-out comes into play. I get it, opt-outs come with the territory now, but they so rarely work to the team’s advantage. What’s the scenario in which Chapman’s works out well for the Yankees, realistically?

3. The Yankees are trying like hell to get under the luxury tax threshold next season, and they just committed approximately 10% of their available player payroll under the threshold to a one-inning reliever who only has an impact when the other 24 guys on the roster do their job. Maybe not the smartest use of resources there, not with the rotation such a long-term question. Brian Cashman already admitted the Yankees are basically tapped out this offseason following the Chapman deal, so they can’t do much more than pick at the free agent scraps. I guess that doesn’t matter much since the free agent class stinks, but still. They can’t take on much salary in a trade either. Paying $17.2M a year for a one-inning pitcher whose usage depends on the rest of the team is something you do when you’re a) ready to win the World Series, or b) operating with a seemingly unlimited payroll. The Yankees are neither at the moment.

(Jonathan Daniel/Getty)
(Jonathan Daniel/Getty)

4. Don’t forget how this started. This all started because Chapman did something terrible in his house with the people he cares about the most around him, terrible enough to warrant a police investigation and a 30-game suspension that would have been longer had he not cut a deal with MLB to maintain his impending free agency. That ugliness created the reality of Chapman in pinstripes. The Yankees are hoping some 105 mph fastballs will make everyone forget all about that, and based on the reaction over the summer, it’ll work. But the people whose lives have been damaged by domestic violence won’t overlook it. There have been questions about Chapman’s makeup for a very long time, dating back to his time with the Cuban National Team, and he had every reason to be on his best behavior this past season given his impending free agency. Now the Yankees plopped a ton of money in front of him and are betting on him being a changed man, and hey, maybe he is. The team better hope so.

5. Personally speaking, Chapman being on the roster takes so much excitement away from the youth and the rebuild. The Yankees have an awful lot of really good young players not just in the farm system, but at or near the big leagues too. Next year we’re going to see Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, and Greg Bird possibly spend their first full season together. How fun is that? I was so looking forward to it. Have been for a long time. Now the Yankees cast a big dark cloud over it with Chapman. That’s my opinion — I know for sure the opinion of many others as well — and you are very welcome to feel differently. They’re going to market the crap out of Chapman and have a disgustingly over-the-top entrance whenever he comes into the game, just like they did this year. I just can’t enjoy it. You might be okay with it. I’m not. I guess I was wrong to get my hopes up thinking the Yankees would be above using something as serious as domestic violence to get ahead on the field. I was wrong. It is g r o s s.

6. The Yankees, as an important part of the community, really need to do something and take some sort of stand here. They made a long-term commitment. Chapman has shown zero remorse since the incident last year, not a shred of regret, so it’s up to the team to do something. Donate to charity, whatever. Go beyond the halfhearted tweets* every team in the league sends out. The Yankees are short on good PR these days. The team has been marginally competitive at best the last four years, the COO told non-elites to stay the hell out of the Legends seats over the summer, and now they’ve acquired Chapman twice. Turn this into a positive somehow and try to do something to salvage the “classy” reputation the team claims to have. But they won’t. They didn’t this past season. They’ll make some more shirts and turn it all into profit.

* How completely idiotic is MLB’s anti-domestic violence campaign? The slogan is “Not A Fan.” The league is “not a fan” of domestic violence. It makes it sound like it’s socially acceptable, but no, it’s not for me. You go ahead though. How stupid. Does anyone think this stuff through?

Yankees lose Torrens, six others in 2016 Rule 5 Draft

Torrens. (
Torrens. (

Thursday morning, the 2016 Winter Meetings unofficially wrapped up with the Rule 5 Draft. Traditionally everyone heads home after that. The Yankees were not able to make a Rule 5 Draft pick this year because their 40-man roster is full, though their incredibly deep farm system was raided pretty good, as expected. So it goes. Here’s a recap of the damage:

Major League Phase

2. Reds: C Luis Torrens (traded to Padres, according to Jonathan Mayo)
7. Diamondbacks: RHP Tyler Jones
9. Brewers: LHP Caleb Smith (traded to Cubs, the team announced)
13. Pirates: LHP Tyler Webb

Triple-A Phase

4. Rays: RHP Ty Hensley
15. Royals: RHP Kelvin Magallanes
30. Cubs: IF Kevin Cornelius

As a reminder, players selected in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft have to stick on their new team’s 25-man active big league roster all next season, or be put on waivers and offered back to the Yankees. The Triple-A phase works differently. That’s just a straight draft. The players are gone. They don’t have to be offered back.

Torrens is the big name here. He was New York’s top catching prospect now that Gary Sanchez has graduated to the big leagues, though he’s been beset by shoulder injuries the last two years. He missed the entire 2015 season with labrum surgery and was slowed by a setback earlier this year. When healthy this past season, Torrens hit .236/.336/.318 (97 wRC+) with two homers and nearly as many walks (11.9%) as strikeouts (15.0%) in 55 total games for Short Season Staten Island and Low-A Charleston.

The chances of a 20-year-old catcher who has played 49 career games in a full season league, all at Low-A, sticking in the Major Leagues next season are so incredibly small. It’s hard to hide a catcher all season, especially in the National League, plus sitting on the bench most of the year and getting maybe 200 at-bats isn’t good for Torrens’ development at this point either. (The Padres are also going to be developing Austin Hedges, their own top catching prospect.) The $1.2M bonus baby from 2012 will almost certainly be offered back in Spring Training. If not, then, well, good luck to him. Torrens will have missed a lot of development time from 2015-17.

Webb, 26, was a lock to be picked in the Rule 5 Draft as a southpaw with some velocity and a history of missing bats at Triple-A. This season he had a 3.59 ERA (2.76 FIP) with 27.1% strikeouts and 7.6% walks in 72.2 innings at Triple-A Scranton, his third year at the level. The Yankees didn’t have the 40-man space to protect him. Webb, a tenth round pick in 2013, has a pretty good chance to stick with the Pirates all season, and even if he doesn’t, he’ll probably be claimed on waivers before being returning to the Yankees. Lefties get plenty of chances.

Webb. (Presswire)
Webb. (Presswire)

Smith, like Webb, is a lefty with a good fastball. He had a 3.96 ERA (3.15 FIP) with 25.1% strikeouts and 7.2% walks in 63.2 Double-A innings this year, his second season at the level. It’s going to be really tough for the 25-year-old to stick all season with a championship team, but apparently the Cubs are going to try. Smith was New York’s 14th rounder in 2013. Jones, 27, had 2.17 ERA (1.50 FIP) with 34.2% strikeouts and 5.6% walks in 45.2 Double-A innings in 2016. The Yankees signed him as a minor league free agent last offseason.

In the Triple-A phase, the most notable name by far is Hensley, the Yankees’ first round pick in 2012. He’s thrown only 42.1 professional innings total due to all sorts of injuries, including hip and hernia surgery, and a pair of Tommy John surgeries. Hensley is currently rehabbing from his second elbow reconstruction. He was still rehabbing from the first procedure when his new ligament gave out. Rough. The Rays have nothing to lose but a low level roster spot, so they’re going to roll the dice and see what happens.

Magallanes and Cornelius are a pair of organizational depth players. The Royals and Cubs are just plugging some minor league roster openings. Magallanes, 22, has yet to make it out of rookie ball. He has a 6.89 ERA (4.78 FIP) in 160.2 career innings. The 24-year-old Cornelius smacked 15 dingers in only 63 games with Rookie Pulaski and High-A Tampa this year. He hit .292/.383/.584 (172 wRC+) overall and was way old for both levels. New York selected him in the 31st round of the 2013 draft.

The Yankees did made two picks of their own in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft: C Jorge Saez from the Blue Jays and RHP Colten Brewer from the Pirates. Does Webb-for-Brewer qualify as the annual Yankees-Pirates trade? Eh, whatever. Anyway, the 26-year-old Saez hit .260/.314/.495 (126 wRC+) with 12 home runs in only 58 games between High-A and Double-A this past season. He’s a defense first catcher who is probably going to be the backup at Double-A Trenton this year. Saez fills a roster need, that’s all. He was Toronto’s 32nd round pick in 2012.

Brewer, 24, pitched to a 4.09 ERA (3.67 FIP) in 70.1 innings across 13 starts and five relief appearances at High-A in 2016. The Pirates selected him in the fourth round of the 2011 draft, so he was kind of a big deal at one point. Brewer is a low-90s sinker guy who is still trying to figure out secondary stuff. The Yankees found gold in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft last year with Yefrey Ramirez. I wouldn’t get my hopes up with Brewer. Minor league Rule 5 Draft success stories are extremely rare.

So, after all of that, the Yankees lost seven players and gained two in this year’s Rule 5 Draft. Torrens is, by far, the most important one to follow in Spring Training. The history of catchers sticking as Rule 5 Draft picks is pretty terrible, but Torrens is really talented, and the Padres might be determined to keep him around long-term. The Yankees simply didn’t have enough 40-man roster space to protect him (or Webb). We’ll see how it shakes out.

Rosenthal: Yankees agree to five-year deal with Aroldis Chapman


The Yankees came into the offseason seemingly determined to spend huge on a closer, and as a result, they’ve handed out by far the largest reliever contract in baseball history. Ken Rosenthal says the Yankees are bringing back Aroldis Chapman on a five-year contract worth $86M. There’s an opt-out after the third year. Marly Rivera says the deal includes a no-trade clause for three years, and the Yankees can’t trade him to a team in California. That’s oddly specific, but whatever.

Prior to Chapman’s deal, the largest reliever contract was Mark Melancon‘s recent deal with the Giants. They gave him four years and $62M. Jonathan Papelbon’s original four-year, $50M contract with the Phillies back in the day was the largest reliever contract ever coming into this offseason. The history of long-term reliever contracts is just awful, but the Yankees had to have their man. What’s done is done.

Chapman, 29 in February, spent the first half of the 2016 season with the Yankees after coming over from the Reds last offseason. The Yankees were able to acquire him at an extreme discount because he was under police (and MLB) investigation for an alleged domestic violence incident. Chapman dominated for a few weeks following his 30-game suspension, then was traded to the Cubs at the deadline and helped them win the World Series.

Between the Yankees and Cubs, Chapman pitched to a 1.55 ERA (1.42 FIP) with 40.5% strikeouts and 8.1% walks in 58 total innings. He’d walked 11.7% of batters faced from 2013-15, and the five-year deal suggests the Yankees think the sudden drop in walk rate is here to stay. I’m not sold, but whatever. Chapman was pretty excellent even when he was walking a top of batters.

The signing means Dellin Betances will slide back into a setup role and resume duties as Joe Girardi‘s eighth inning guy. I think he’s more valuable to the team in that role because he can put fires out in the seventh inning at times, rather than be married to the ninth. I had zero concerns about Betances as closer. The Yankees are just better off with him being available earlier in games.

Now that the all-important closer is on board, the Yankees can focus on reinforcing the rotation and perhaps adding some more middle reliever depth. Brett Gardner and Chase Headley have been on the trade block all winter, and I expect the team to continue pursuing deals. It seems getting a closer was the Yankees’ most important piece of offseason business, and that has now been addressed.

Wednesday Night Open Thread

Another day without the Yankees doing anything at the Winter Meetings. Boring! Then again, like 23 of the 30 teams haven’t done anything this week, so it’s not like the Yankees are an outlier here. I thought for sure we would get an Aroldis Chapman decision today, and we still might, but so far nothing. It was weirdly quiet this afternoon. Everyone is saving their excitement for the Rule 5 Draft in the morning, I guess.

This is tonight’s open thread. Both the Knicks and Nets are playing tonight, and there’s a whole bunch of college hoops on the schedule as well. Talk about those games and the Winter Meetings right here.

2016 Winter Meetings Open Thread: Wednesday

(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty)
(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty)

There is one full day remaining in the 2016 Winter Meetings and so far the Yankees have done, well, not a whole lot. Things can come together pretty quickly though. Last year at this time we were all lamenting the lack of activity, then bam, the Starlin Castro and Justin Wilson trades went down.

“The free-agent stuff, you just have to stay close to it, because that can move fast,” said Brian Cashman to Bryan Hoch. “The trade stuff, there have just been certain teams that keep pursuing specific guys, so that’s been hot. There have been a couple different dynamics that have developed. Whether they lead anywhere or not, we’ll see.”

On Tuesday we learned the Yankees made contract offers to both Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen, which is interesting. I’m kinda curious to see what happens if they both accept at the same time. We’ll again keep track of the day’s Yankees-related rumors right here, so check back often. All time stamps are Eastern Time.

  • 9:30am: Chapman apparently has a $92M offer in hand. Goodness. That is offer is not from the Yankees, though they’re pursuing him aggressively and are “determined” to get a deal done. [Bob Nightengale, Jon Heyman]
  • 9:30am: The Yankees did talk to the White Sox about Chris Sale before he was traded to the Red Sox, but they weren’t going to go all out to get him. “As long as we stick to the plan, we’ll be better off in the long run,” said Cashman. [David Lennon]
  • 9:30am: The Yankees have spoken to the ChiSox about David Robertson. I assume he’s a backup plan should Chapman and Jansen fall through. The White Sox are rebuilding, and obviously the Yankees know Robertson and are comfortable with him. [Sweeny Murti]
  • 9:30am: Brett Gardner is “seen as a possible fit” for the Orioles, though they’d want the Yankees to eat some money. This sounds like speculation more than anything. I have a hard time thinking Gardner will be traded to a division rival, but who knows. [Heyman]
  • 9:40am: The Yankees are interested in signing infielder Ruben Tejada to a minor league contract. They’ll need to sign at least one stopgap infielder for Triple-A this offseason, possibly two. Also, the Yankees are trying to re-sign Nick Rumbelow as well. [George King]
  • 10:07am: It sounds as though adding a closer is the team’s top priority, so much so that the Yankees will put all their other business on hold until that’s resolved. They need to see exactly how much money will be left over, I assume. [Brendan Kuty]
  • 11:00am: Cashman reiterated he doesn’t expect to land a starter at the Winter Meetings. “I don’t anticipate it. It’s a tough market and the price tags are extremely high. We could play on a lot of things because we have a lot of prospects people desire and we desire them, too. I would say it’s less likely for us to acquire a starter,” said the GM. [King]
  • 11:23am: The Rockies have agreed to sign Ian Desmond. This is notable because Colorado is forfeiting the 11th overall pick, which means the Yankees move up from 17th to 16th. Here’s the full draft order. [Ken Rosenthal]
  • 12:20pm: Along with the Yankees, both the Marlins and Dodgers are in on Chapman and waiting to hear his decision. Chapman is New York’s top target. [Heyman]
  • 12:42pm: I don’t think this will matter, but the Yankees are one of the eight teams included in Jay Bruce’s limited no-trade clause. He could block a trade across town. [James Wagner]
  • 4:57pm: The Yankees are one of several teams to show interest in free agent righty Sergio Romo. If the Yankees miss out on Chapman and Jansen, Romo could be a setup option behind Dellin Betances. [John Shea]

Reminder: Your trade proposal sucks.

Update: Yankees sign Matt Holliday to one-year deal

Beard's gotta go, Matt. (Jeff Curry/Getty)
Beard’s gotta go, Matt. (Jeff Curry/Getty)

Wednesday: The Yankees have officially announced the signing, so Holliday passed his physical and all that. He can block a trade to one team, according to Chris Cotillo: the Athletics. I guess Holliday didn’t enjoy his time with the A’s a few years ago, huh? Anyway, the 40-man roster is now full, which means the Yankees won’t be making a pick in tomorrow’s Rule 5 Draft, not that they were expected to make a pick anyway.

“The opportunity to play for such a historic franchise and such an amazing organization was really appealing,” said Holliday to Erik Boland and Pete Caldera. “I was excited about the opportunity to be a Yankee. I think this team has got a chance to be very competitive … It’s a talented young group of players that played amazing baseball the last two months when everybody kind of counted them out.”

Sunday: The Yankees have their veteran designated hitter. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees have agreed to a one-year contract worth $13M with free agent outfielder Matt Holliday. The team hasn’t announced the move, which usually means it’s pending a physical. That’ll come soon enough.

Reports indicate the Yankees wanted Carlos Beltran back at DH, but he signed a one-year deal with the Astros over the weekend. Holliday, while not a switch-hitter, is similar to Beltran in that he’s a veteran bat with a history of hitting for power and maintaining relatively low strikeout rates. He also has a strong reputation as a clubhouse guy, which is cool because the Yankees have a lot of young players who need mentorin’.

Holliday, 37 in January, hit .246/.322/.461 (109 wRC+) with 20 home runs in 110 games around a broken thumb this past season. The thumb was broken by an errant pitch in August. Holliday was supposed to miss the rest of the season, but the Cardinals activated him for the final homestand so he could say goodbye to the St. Louis fans, and he managed to hit an opposite field homer with a broken thumb:

Holliday has spent almost his entire career as a left fielder, but he’s a brutal defender these days, so much so that the Yankees should only use him out there in an emergency. They have enough outfield depth — even if Brett Gardner is traded — to avoid using Holliday in left, I think. He does have some first base experience, but not much. Holliday should be a DH and a DH only. Plain and simple.

Believe it or not, this is only the Yankees second Major League free agent signing since re-signing Stephen Drew in January 2015. The other signing? Tommy Layne in August. The Yankees infamously sat out free agency entirely last offseason. My guess is they’re not done spending this winter, with smaller deals like this continuing to be the focus. We’ll see what happens.

Now that the Yankees have their DH, they figure to focus on pitching at the Winter Meetings this year. Pitching, pitching, and more pitching. Starters and relievers. All of it. They’ve been connected to the top free agent closers so often this winter that it’ll feel like an upset if they don’t land one of them. The rotation? That’ll take a little more creativity. The free agent class stinks.

Tyson Ross headlines non-tendered players who could be of interest to the Yankees

(Denis Poroy/Getty)
(Denis Poroy/Getty)

Last Friday was the deadline for teams to tender their pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players contracts for the 2017 season. They didn’t have to sign them, just offer a contract. Those who didn’t receive an offer became free agents. A total of 35 players were non-tendered Friday.

The Yankees non-tendered one player, lefty Jacob Lindgren, who almost immediately signed with the Braves. New York hoped to bring Lindgren, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, back on a minor league deal, but no luck. “Unfortunately we don’t have every roster spot we can find. We were hoping to get him back on a minor league deal, but it didn’t work out,” said Brian Cashman to Joel Sherman.

Among the 34 other non-tenders are some players who could be of interest to the Yankees. Chris Carter, who led the NL with 41 home runs in 2016, was a possible DH candidate prior to the Matt Holliday signing, for example. Three other non-tendered players caught my eye after being let go Friday. Do any make sense for the Yankees? Well, let’s see.

RHP Matt Carasiti

Right off the bat, someone you’ve probably never heard of. Carasiti, 25, is a local kid who grew up in Connecticut and went to St. John’s. He was a sixth round pick by the Rockies in 2012, and over the last few years he gradually climbed the minor league ladder before making his MLB debut in 2016. It wasn’t pretty. Carasiti allowed 17 runs on 25 hits and eleven walks in 15.2 innings. He struck out 17. That’s a 9.19 ERA (4.49 FIP).

Those numbers are not what makes Carasiti kinda interesting. (I’m not going to knock the kid for pitching poorly in his first taste of MLB when Coors Field is his home park.) He’s now a pure reliever with a history of missing bats and limiting walks in the minors (27.4 K% and 5.1 BB% in 2016) thanks to a fastball/cutter/forkball combo. Carasiti’s four-seamer averaged 95.6 mph and topped out at 97.5 mph with the Rockies, and the forkball had a healthy 24.6% swing-and-miss rate. (Masahiro Tanaka‘s splitter had a 17.6% whiff rate in 2016.)

Carasiti is a not a future closer or anything like that. He has the tools to miss bats though, plus he has all three minor league options remaining, which makes him a shuttle reliever candidate. There’s a pretty decent chance whichever teams signs Carasiti this offseason will be able to do so on a minor league contract.

With Lindgren and the recently released Nick Rumbelow gone, plus Branden Pinder still on the mend following Tommy John surgery, adding another shuttle candidate wouldn’t be a bad idea. There’s no such thing as too many potential bullpen options these days. Chances are the Yankees are going to end up signing (or claiming) someone exactly like this at some point this winter.

RHP Tyson Ross

Ross is the biggest name among the non-tendered players. From 2013-15, he was legitimately one of the best pitchers in baseball, putting up a 3.07 ERA (3.13 FIP) in 516.2 innings. More than 60% of the batters he faced those years (61.5%, to be exact) either struck out or hit a ground ball. Only Dallas Keuchel (63.7%) and Felix Hernandez (62.1%) had better rates among the 132 pitches to throw at least 300 innings from 2013-15. The great Clayton Kershaw (61.1%) was right behind Ross.

Of course, Ross is not healthy right now, and even when he was healthy, he had a thing for walks. His 9.4% walk rate was tenth highest among the 132 pitches from 2013-15. This past season Ross started on Opening Day, got rocked (eight runs in 5.1 innings), then spent the entire rest of the season on the disabled list. His string of injuries went like so:

  • April 9th: Placed on 15-day DL with shoulder inflammation.
  • July 7th: Twisted his ankle in his hotel room and had to be shut down from throwing.
  • August 25th: Left his first rehab start after two-thirds of an inning with shoulder discomfort.
  • October 13th: Underwent surgery to treat Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.

So there you go. A bunch of shoulder issues with a twisted ankle mixed in for good measure. The optimistic outlook has Ross returning from TOS surgery in April or May. Midseason seems like a safer bet, but we’ll see. Either way, TOS is very serious and it can be career-threatening if not caught quickly enough. By all accounts, doctors caught Ross’ issue early, which improves his prognosis. Still, it’s scary stuff.

This is my general feeling on the situation: Ross is the guy everyone is excited about when he gets non-tendered, the team that signs him will be universally praised, then he’ll put up like a 5.60 ERA in 43 innings next year. I feel like this is heading in that direction. That doesn’t mean you stay away from him, because if he’s healthy, Ross can be really good. It just means there’s a lot of risk here. TOS is no joke.

The Yankees should pursue the 29-year-old Ross as a lottery ticket. Don’t count on him for anything. Give him a look in the rotation when he’s healthy and see what happens. That’s it. Don’t pencil him in as the No. 5 starter or anything. Whatever you gives you is all gravy. The hard part will be convincing Ross to take what I imagine will be a short-term contract to pitch in Yankee Stadium and the AL East. That’s not a good place to rebuild value. My guess is he winds up closer to home on the West Coast.

RHP Chris Withrow

Withrow. (Stacy Revere/Getty)
Withrow. (Stacy Revere/Getty)

I was surprised the Braves non-tendered Withrow. I can understand the Padres cutting Ross loose — he was projected to make roughly $10M through arbitration in 2016, which is a lot for an injured pitcher on a small market team — but Withrow was projected for a mere $1.2M salary. For a team as desperate for pitching as the Braves, I would have thought keeping him was a no-brainer. Shows what I know.

Anyway, Withrow returned from Tommy John surgery this season and threw 37.2 innings with a 3.58 ERA (4.90 FIP) in 37.2 innings. His strikeout (17.7%) and walk (10.8%) rates were the kind of stuff you tend to see from a guy just returning from elbow reconstruction. Obviously any team that signs the 27-year-old fastball/slider/curveball pitcher would be hoping for better going forward.

Before his elbow gave out, Withrow spent part of the 2013 and 2014 seasons with the Dodgers, with whom he pitched to a 2.73 ERA (3.65 FIP) with a 31.7% strikeout rate in 56 innings. Walks were an issue overall (13.8%), though much of that stems from the few outings before his elbow injury, when he completely lost the zone. That isn’t to say Withrow has great control when healthy. Just that it isn’t quite that bad.

Like Carasiti, Withrow is a potential bullpen shuttle candidate. Unlike Carasiti, Withrow doesn’t have any options left, which creates a problem. He can come up, but he can’t go back down, at least not without passing through waivers. That shouldn’t be a deal-breaker though. Withrow is the type of pitcher who can be had on a minor league deal and stashed in Triple-A. If he pitches well, great! If not, well then he gets released and no big deal.

* * *

There are a few bigger name players who were non-tendered as well last week, including Rubby De La Rosa. Rubby has a huge arm, but he hasn’t been very good when healthy, and right now he’s rehabbing his elbow in an effort to avoid his second Tommy John surgery. He’ll get billed as a low risk, high reward player. I see him as more of a high risk, low reward player given his track record and current elbow concerns.

Others like Vance Worley (nope), Jose Pirela (eh), Jeff Locke (yuck), and Jeff Manship (meh) were all non-tendered last week as well, and you could talk yourself into thinking each of them makes some sense for the Yankees. Ross is clearly the prize of the non-tender class and he comes with a ton of risk. I’d like to see the Yankees roll the dice on Carasiti and/or Withrow for bullpen depth, but generally speaking, this crop of non-tenders is lacking impact. They’re all hurt or spare part players.