If you Google “Adam Warren Will be Missed” you will receive roughly 8.4 million results. While some of those articles are simply reporting the trade that sent him to the Chicago Cubs for Starlin Castro, many of them, including the top three, tell a story of a Yankees’ team which may have trouble filling his void. Others criticize New York and imply it may have been ripped off in the deal.
Apparently the Yankees can’t win as a franchise when it comes to these sorts of things. Let’s review the different scenarios where New York gets criticized:
- If it spends money in free agency
- If it spends money internationally
- If it does not spend money in free agency
- If it does not spend money internationally
- If it trades older players for younger players with equal or more team control
- If it fills a void
- If it does not fill a void
- If it tries to get younger
- When it gets older
- If it gets a Player for pennies on the dollar like Aroldis Chapman
- If it makes fair trades like when Adam Warren is involved
If the Yankees can avoid those situations, you likely have unanimous agreement like when it drafted Greg Bird, he was developed, he wasn’t traded and then he performed at the major league level. Greg Bird is a pretty harmless guy unless he’s in a batter’s box.
Adam Warren, on the other hand, was a nice piece to a 25 man roster. He was reliable, he could start, he could relieve, he’s just one of those guys you don’t mind having on your team.
He’s also completely and utterly replaceable.
Adam Warren is a 28-year-old (29 in August) who will be controlled until he is 31-years-old and then will not net a compensation pick and may only continue to reach his ceiling as a seventh inning reliever or back of the rotation starter for a middle to good starting rotation. He does a nice job mainly pitching in said seventh inning and he will do it for the Cubs more than likely.
Adam Warren is not a number three starter, never has been, never will be, even in the NL. You know who Brian Cashman felt was a #3 starter? Masahiro Tanaka. Adam Warren is not Masahiro Tanaka. He’s a guy with a 3.98 ERA in 106.1 innings as a starter with a 2.17 strikeout to walk ratio, a .253 BAA and someone who in a full, 200 inning type season, would give up over 20 home runs.
That’s MLB caliber, it’s not dominant. It’s especially not dominant for a team who has an issue with finding guys who are dominant and not just good or MLB caliber to put in the rotation.
So let’s take a deep breath and understand Warren was never pitching in the rotation for the Yankees. Not now, not when Ivan Nova leaves, not ever. He’s a guy who could throw the second game of a double header, or in an emergency start, or in September. He’s not a guy the Yankees were going to groom going forward as a long-term piece of the rotation while he heads into his thirties.
Maybe the Cubs will use him that way since the back of their rotation is exactly that, suspect, but not the Yankees. Some may say this made Warren a good trade candidate for the Cubs to pursue.
Others may say Warren is suited as a middle reliever.
A 28-year-old middle reliever with a 3.05 career ERA as a middle reliever is not a guy who is difficult to replace in a year where three of the top five guys who come in to relieve in MLB are on your roster.
So this season, Warren would have been the fourth best reliever and possibly the sixth best starter for the Yankees assuming nobody else stepped up to challenge him.
Speaking of nobody else, the Yankees have people who could have stepped up to challenge him and will in fact attempt to replace him. That list is as short as:
Jacob Lindgren, Johnny Barbatos, Luis Cessa, Bryan Mitchell, Tyler Olson, Kirby Yates, Nick Rumbelow, Nick Goody, Diego Moreno and Brandon Pinder. Also, Vinnie Pestano, Brady Lail, Vicente Campos and Richard Bleir if you’re into dark horses.
So to reiterate the Yankees’ side of things, they will try 14 pitchers to replace 131.1 innings of 3.29 ERA and 17 starts. This does not include a full season of Luis Severino, Nova or health improvements from: Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi or Masahiro Tanaka or the addition of Aroldis Chapman.
So literally a minimum of 20 pitchers are going to try to compensate for 131.1 innings of 3.29 baseball.
So we can cross “vital” off the list of attributes for Adam Warren.
Now let’s look at the trade at face value. What New York does not have a lot of in the system is major league ready second basemen. In fact, it has zero outside of Rob Refsnyder. What it has is a lot of starters who can be average or relievers who can range from average to dominant. It has a lot of Adam Warren and almost none of Starlin Castro.
What New York does have is Bryan Mitchell, who is 24-years-old, the age Warren was when he was first called up, who happens to spot start and be able to pitch in relief. Will he pan out? We don’t know. We do know 13 other pitchers will try to pan out instead if he doesn’t.
So this isn’t about a head to head comparison of Warren moving from the AL East to the NL Central, trying to account for that, trying to predict if we should account for his value as a starter, reliever, or both for the Cubs, trying to account for the difference in ball parks and the fact the Yankees got a player four years younger in Castro.
It’s about need.
All you have to decide for yourself when it comes to Adam Warren is this:
If you humorously chose the former, please, continue wondering if Adam Warren will be like the Hall of Famer, Shane Greene who everyone panicked about last season before he fell off a cliff.
If you answered correctly, the Yankees will not need much help replacing Adam Warren and they filled a hole and improved his spot in the process.