Adam Warren could be a valuable addition to the Cubs’ pitching staff. The front office acquired the 28-year old right-hander from the Yankees, along with INF Brendan Ryan, two weeks ago for 2B Starlin Castro.
Warren was first connected to the Cubs last summer as the front office explored ways to shore up the backend of the rotation. The Cubs were unable to make a deal with the Yankees while he excelled as Joe Girardi’s swingman.
Adam Warren is not a recognizable name but the Yankees did not want to part with him. And the Cubs received value in return for Starlin Castro, especially with the Yankees picking up the remaining $38 million on Castro’s contract.
After the Cubs acquired Warren, Jed Hoyer explained he is a pitcher that’s been on the front office’s radar for a while.
“Warren is a guy we’ve always liked a lot from a far. This guy has bounced between the rotation and the bullpen but he’s been valuable in both,” Hoyer said on MLB Network Radio. “We lack optionable, controllable pitchers and this is a guy that’s really been good in the American League East. We think he’s going to come in and have a big impact on the team in various roles.”
Adam Warren is preparing as a starter this winter and will report to Spring Training ready to compete for a spot in the rotation. Warren could play a bigger role with the Cubs next season. For now, Warren is penciled in as one of possibly four swingmen Joe Maddon could begin the season with in his bullpen.
The front office is building a versatile pitching staff with Warren, Trevor Cahill, Travis Wood and Clayton Richard capable of filling multiple roles out of the bullpen. Joe Maddon has shown he will pull his starters early in games and in some cases after two times through the lineup.
Adam Warren is arbitration eligible and is under team control for the next three years through the 2018 season. Warren also has two minor league options left which gives the Cubs roster flexibility as Jed Hoyer pointed out.
Warren throws a four-seam and a two-seam fastball in the 94 mph range. Warren’s fastball has touched 97 mph out of the bullpen. Warren features a changeup (85 mph range), slider (86 mph range) and a curveball (80 mph range) that induces a lot of groundball outs. Warren’s four-seam fastball “is about an inch more than average, making it a bit of a rising fastball” according to FanGraphs. And rising fastballs are “almost the most platoon-neutral pitch in baseball, so it’s a good weapon against both sides of the plate.”
Last year, Warren was 7-7 in 43 games, 17 starts, with a 3.29 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. Warren allowed 51 runs, 48 earned, on 114 hits with 39 walks and 104 strikeouts in 131 1/3 innings. As a starter, Warren posted a 6-6 record with a 3.66 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. In 96 innings, Warren allowed 42 runs, 39 earned, on 87 hits with 30 walks and 67 strikeouts.
Warren pitched extremely well out of the bullpen last season. As a reliever, Warren was 1-1 in 26 games with a 2.29 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. Warren gave up nine runs on 27 hits with nine walks and 37 strikeouts in 35 1/3 innings.
And for his career, Warren has appeared in 147 games, 20 as a starter. Warren is 7-6 in 20 starts with a 3.98 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. Out of the Yankees bullpen during in four years in the Bronx, Warren was 6-9 in 127 games with five saves, a 3.05 ERA and 1.22 WHIP (63 runs, 62 earned, 164 hits, 60 walks, 169 strikeouts) in 183 innings.
Adam Warren provides the Cubs with depth in case of injury, but he could pitch his way into the rotation in the spring.