Marlins starter David Phelps was placed on the disabled list Sunday after leaving his start against the Cardinals with discomfort in his right elbow.
An official diagnosis is now in, per Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, and it’s a season-ending stress fracture of Phelps’ right radius bone. That bone extends from the elbow to the base of the thumb.
Phelps, acquired from the New York Yankees last December as part of the Nathan Eovaldi trade, posted a 4.50 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, and 77/33 K/BB ratio across 112 innings this season for Miami.
The 28-year-old right-hander will be arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter. He lost an arbitration hearing against the Marlins last offseason that stuck him with a $1.4 million salary for 2015 (rather than the $1.85 million figure he submitted).
First baseman/outfielder Garrett Jones, whom the Yankees acquired from the Marlins this offseason as part of the Nathan Eovaldi deal, has been designated for assignment.
Jones struggled in a part-time role for the Yankees, hitting .215 with five homers and a .618 OPS in 57 games while posting an ugly 37/8 K/BB ratio. He hasn’t topped a .725 OPS since 2012 and just turned 34 years old, so Jones may have to go prove himself at Triple-A before getting another MLB chance.
His salary this season is $5 million, but Jones’ best role at this point would probably be a left-handed bench bat and occasional starter versus right-handed pitching.
CC Sabathia is looking more and more like a reliever–or less and less like a capable starter, at least–but the Yankees will keep him in the rotation and instead move Adam Warren back to the bullpen despite his team-best 3.59 ERA in 14 starts.
New York briefly went to a six-man rotation following Ivan Nova’s return from Tommy John elbow surgery, but the plan was always to go back to five starters and Warren’s previous experience in the bullpen likely contributed to his role being changed while Sabtahia (5.65 ERA) and Nathan Eovaldi (4.81 ERA) remain starters.
(Sabathia making a ton of money and the Yankees viewing Eovaldi as having more long-term upside than Warren also played a part, certainly.)
Warren thrived as a setup man for David Robertson last season, appearing in 69 games with a 2.97 ERA and 76/24 K/BB ratio in 79 innings. And the Yankees’ bullpen can use the late-inning help with Andrew Miller on the disabled list.
Ivan Nova’s return from Tommy John elbow surgery means the Yankees now have six starters and five rotation spots. In the short term they’re going to a six-man rotation, but once they resume a five-man alignment someone has to go.
And according to manager Joe Girardi it won’t be CC Sabathia despite the former Cy Young winner’s ugly 3-7 record and 5.65 ERA in 15 starts, which includes a league-high 55 earned runs and a league-high 17 home runs allowed in 88 innings.
Sabathia failed to make it out of the fifth inning Tuesday against the light-hitting Phillies, after which Girardi was asked about the 35-year-old left-hander’s job security and said:
He is a starter for us. That’s what he is and that’s what we are paying him to do and that is what he is going to do. … He’ll keep working at it. We’ll keep working at it. He’ll still compete. We need him to do his job.
Girardi’s “that’s what we are paying him to do” quote is especially key, because Sabathia is making $25 million this season with another $25 million due next year and a $25 million vesting option or $5 million buyout for 2017.
Sabathia’s track record and contract have kept him from losing a starting job already, because dating back to 2013 he’s started 55 games with a 5.07 ERA and 55 homers allowed. Instead when the Yankees bump someone from the rotation it’ll likely be Adam Warren or Nathan Eovaldi.