Potential Fits for Shane Greene

Shane Greene Free Agency Potential Destinations

Relief pitcher Shane Greene is officially a free agent. Greene is coming off his first full season with the Atlanta Braves and just turned 32 last month. Over a sample of 28 appearances this year, Greene posted a 2.60 ERA with a 3.81 Fielding Independent Percentage (FIP) and 21 strikeouts.

Traded halfway through the 2019 season from the Detroit Tigers, Greene was effective overall over that time for Atlanta. When you combine this season with the second half of the 2019 season, Greene had a 3.27 ERA over that period over 52 and one-third innings. Furthermore, he faced a total of 210 batters over that sample and accumulated a 7.2 K/9 rate.

This season specifically, Greene was very effective against right-handed hitters. He held righties to a .185 batting average and a .267 on-base percentage. However, the 2020 season was a tale of two stories for the reliever as well. Over 15 games between July and August, Greene allowed one earned run with 12 strikeouts which translated to a 0.64 ERA. Once the calendar turned to September, he turned into a much different reliever. Over 11 and one-third innings, Greene had a 5.56 ERA with seven earned runs.

Given his age though and the fact that he has pitched at the big league level for seven seasons, there should be ample interest in his services. Furthermore, there should be plenty of interest due to the number of teams that need bullpen help. Here are five potential fits for the righty.

Fits for Shane Greene

1. Atlanta Braves

The aforementioned Atlanta Braves should not be counted out when it comes to Shane Greene. The Braves currently have a hole without Greene in their bullpen right now. This past season, Greene provided manager Brian Snitker and the Braves with a nice bridge option to closer Will Smith. As things currently stand right now, right-hander Chris Martin would likely be viewed as the next most impactful option for Atlanta. Therefore, with Greene in the mix, the Braves are a much stronger unit.

Currently, the Braves payroll sits at $115.9 million dollars. This past season, Atlanta ended the year with a payroll a little north of $129.7 million. As such, Atlanta could bring back Greene if they feel it would be a worthwhile investment because it does ultimately help their pitching staff. After Atlanta added Drew Smyly and Charlie Morton to the starting rotation in free agency, finding starting pitching is now less of a concern.

2. Philadelphia Phillies

If there is one team that could use an upgrade in their bullpen, it would be the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies are coming off a season in which their relievers combined for a major league-worst 7.06 ERA over 186 innings. In an attempt to overcome those struggles, Philadelphia traded for two notable relievers from the Boston Red Sox prior to the August 31st Trade Deadline in Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree. Those efforts though ended up not panning out the way Boston had hoped which means that addressing the bullpen will be critical this offseason.

As it stands right now, the Phillies do not have a primary closer. Rather, those duties would likely be handled by right-hander Hector Neris who recorded five saves over eight opportunities this season. The 31-year old Neris is capable of handling those duties but did also finish the 2020 season with a 4.57 ERA and a .267 Opponent Batting Average Against. For Philadelphia, Shane Greene would give the team a very good option in the closer role or the eighth inning and provide some much-needed stability heading into 2021.

3. New York Yankees

Shane Greene was originally drafted during the 15th round of the 2009 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees. Furthermore, he made his debut in April of 2014 with the team. For Greene, signing with the Yankees could be somewhat of a homecoming for him. In addition, the Yankees are likely to be in the marketplace for at least one reliever this offseason. That need gets magnified should current free agent Tommy Kahnle sign elsewhere with another team.

For the Yankees, Greene would give their bullpen a formidable late-inning option. Beyond that, Greene does have experience in the closer role. He didn’t record any saves this season, but was the closer for the Detroit Tigers in 2017, 2018, and the first half of 2019. Of course, pitching in New York is different than any other market simply because of the pressure that comes along with it. However, Aroldis Champman is slated to be the Yankees Opening Day closer but hasn’t been the closer that he once was. Therefore, by adding Greene to the mix the Yankees could fortify their bullpen in a significant way.

4. Chicago White Sox

After making several significant splashes in free agency prior to the start of this past season, the Chicago White Sox are a win-now team. The White Sox amassed a 35-25 record over the 60-game sample which was good enough for second place in the American League Central. With a new skipper in tow in Hall of FamerĀ Tony La Russa, Chicago will make it a priority to add to the bullpen this offseason. Although, relief pitching was one of the strengths of the team in 2020. White Sox relievers combined for a 3.76 ERA over that sample with 247 strikeouts. From an ERA perspective, that put the team seventh overall among all 30 teams.

The one big caveat though is that closer Alex Colome is currently a free agent. Chicago will likely look to reunite with Colome in free agency, but if they don’t that leaves a big hole at the back end of the bullpen. Overall, the White Sox possesses some uncertainty in the pen which adds to the importance of trying to find a veteran presence like Greene. Add to the fact that Greene has experience pitching in the American League Central previously with the aforementioned Detroit Tigers and it makes more sense.

5. Boston Red Sox

Heading back to the East Coast, the Boston Red Sox are potentially another fit for free agent reliever Shane Greene. The Red Sox had an interest in acquiring Greene at the July 31st Trade Deadline in 2019. Granted, that was under a different President of Baseball Operations – Dave Dombrowski. Since that time, Dombrowski has left the organization and now Chaim Bloom formerly of the Tampa Bay Rays holds a similar role as Chief Baseball Officer. Although, other members of the front office remain from Dombrowski’s tenure most notably General Manager Brian O’Halloran.

Therefore, the interest level in Greene could still be there for Boston. Furthermore, the team certainly could use some stability in the pen based on their 2020 results. Red Sox relievers combined for a 5.79 ERA which was the fourth-highest in baseball. Of course, the Red Sox are looking at adding starting pitching this offseason, and rightfully so, but if they are unable to address that need they could very well look at bulking up the bullpen. Greene would help the team do just that and hopefully allow Boston to get back on track after a disappointing 2020 season.

Final Thoughts on Shane Greene

The five aforementioned teams are the best potential fits for Shane Greene. However, depending on how the market develops and the fluidity involved in the plans of certain teams, there might be another team or two that end up making more sense for his services. For instance, the Detroit Tigers could use a late-inning option like Greene to anchor things down. If the price is right and affordable enough, Detroit might be willing to sign him to a deal to provide stability. Plus, it would reunite Greene with an organization he is already familiar with.

Regardless, Shane Greene is one of many impactful relief options available in free agency this offseason. Based on his track record and what he did for the Braves this year, Greene should have no problem finding a job with one of the thirty teams around baseball with the five teams mentioned above as the most likely destinations.

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