After another poor outing by New York Yankees reliever Tyler Clippard, he could be joining the recently-DFA’d Chris Carter.
No one should ever call for someone to be designated for assignment in what could potentially cost a player his job, but New York Yankees reliever Tyler Clippard is coming awfully close to losing his job in the bullpen staff.
After getting off to a stellar campaign for New York (1.57 in first 25 appearances), the 32-year-old has become a complete shell of himself, costing the Yankees a ton of games — including some headaches in lower-leveraged situations.
Since June 4, Clippard has surrendered 12 earned runs in 6.2 innings of work (16.20 ERA), featuring five strikeouts to correspond with four home runs allowed. In four of his last five relief appearances, he has allowed multiple baserunners and owns a 33.75 ERA in that same span.
To keep it short, his changeup is flat and he’s getting obliterated.
“It’s not easy,” Clippard said after being tapped for four earned runs against the Texas Rangers on Saturday. “It’s a process. Right now I’m searching a little bit. Just got to stay the course. The good thing is body-wise I probably feel better than I have all year, which kind of makes this stretch a little more frustrating.”
It’s not only frustrating, but it’s casting a shadow on what has been the brightest aspect of this Yankees’ team: the bullpen. Over the last 14 days, New York’s ‘pen owns the ninth-worst ERA in the Majors (5.12) and are tied with the Detroit Tigers and Tampa Bay Rays for the most losses. Although he’s not directly responsible for the fact that his team owns the second-worst record in the bigs since June 13 (2-9), Clippard and his runs surrendered in five of his last six appearances are not exactly helping.
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“We’ve got to figure it out,” Joe Girardi said in his postgame press conference following Saturday’s loss. “He’s been so important for us for four months the last two months last year, the first two months this year and even half of this month. He’s really in a funk and we’ve got to get him out of it.”
The question is: how long can Girardi keep sending Clippard out there? Sure, he was dynamite when the Yankees re-acquired him from the Arizona Diamondbacks last season (2.49 ERA in 25.1 innings) and then again to start 2017, but he has simply lost it. He knows it, his manager knows it and the fans are letting him hear it on the field.
“They have a right to boo me. I’m pitching terribly right now,” Clippard said. “It is what it is. This is a city that demands excellence. I realize that.”
What he ought to also realize is that perhaps the clock is ticking. Girardi has already tried to throw Clippard into lower-leveraged situations, which has failed miserably. What’s next? A phantom DL stint? Keep letting him get punched around until he figures it out?
Clippard’s leash should be long. After all, he is an important piece to the bullpen’s success in front of Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman. Nonetheless, Chris Carter’s leash was long, too. It was until his struggles were so real that it cost him his Yankees’ starting first base job to Tyler Austin in DFA-fashion.
If their seventh inning man can’t right the ship, there’s no reason to believe he won’t be joining his now-former teammate.