From All-Star closer to fans considering him as a non-tender candidate. Shane Greene had himself quite a year. After starting the season with the Tigers and earning his way to the all-star game, Greene was traded to the Braves at the deadline (literally, it was less than an hour before the buzzer). Many people, myself included, didn’t love to see the Braves part with Joey Wentz. Wentz was one of the best LHP prospects in the system, but getting Greene for the rest of the season plus 2020 was worth it.
In his first 3 innings with the Braves, Greene gave up 5 ER, the same number he gave up in 38 innings for Detroit. His first two outings were a blown save and a loss; after another blown save against the Marlins in his fifth Braves outing, he was relegated to the setup role. In less than ten days, closing games became Mark Melancon’s job. After those outings he settled in nicely, giving up only 4 runs in his last 20.1 innings. Overall, Greene was worth 2.1 bWAR in 2019 which put him at 17th among all MLB relievers.
The 2019 NLDS
Greene pitched out of a jam in game 1, getting two pop outs with a man on third. Unfortunately for the Braves however, Greene’s most memorable inning of work was in game 4 of the NLDS. After giving up a bloop double to Goldy, he rebounded and struck out Ozuna. Then Molina hit a single that was just off of Freddie’s outstretched glove and the tying run scored. He then struck out Carpenter, but the game was tied. Two very lucky hits in the same inning for the Cards led to the Braves demise.
Greene is estimated to make $6.5M in 2020. This figure appeared a bit too steep for some Braves fans after the signing of Will Smith. However, that is a very reasonable amount for a reliever that was worth over 2 WAR last season. As we saw on Monday, Greene was tendered a contract and for good reason: he is likely the second-best reliever in the bullpen now. While Smith is likely the closer, this is a bullpen full of closers! Smith, Greene or Melancon could all easily pitch in the 9th.
Fangraphs has Greene projected 72 innings with a 4.06 ERA and worth 0.5 WAR. It will be interesting to see how he does, as in 2016 and 2018 he had ERAs north of 5, but in 2017 and 2019 they were in the 2s. I would bet on a 2/low 3 mark and be more than happy with it. No matter how the final roster shakes out, I for one am very excited for another season of Greene’s nasty slider at the back-end of the bullpen!