Injury Update: Michael King declared out for season
|Photo credit: MLB.com|
In perhaps the Yankees’ most devastating injury so far this season, Michael King exited Friday night’s game after throwing game-saving pitches and subsequently clutching his elbow.
King’s injury isn’t the first we’ve seen from the Yankees’ bullpen this season; Chad Green, Aroldis Chapman, Ron Marinaccio and Jonathan Loaisiaga have all gone down at different points in this season’s timeline. To this point, Green’s injury was the most devastating as it required Tommy John surgery and left him out for the season. Additionally, Zack Britton started the season on the I.L. and remains there.
But King has tremendously stepped into the role as the setup man for Clay Holmes, and has arguably showed the most consistency in the bullpen. Over 34 game appearances and 51 innings pitched (he only pitched 63 total in 2021), King has recorded a career-high 66 strikeouts. His ERA is a tremendous 2.29, and he’s only recorded a total of 15 allowed runs, 13 of which were earned runs. The numbers say it all, but King has received praise on social media with nearly every game appearance this season. He comes up in difficult situations, and the YES broadcast has even referred to him with the moniker “Houdini.”
King’s prognosis, announced after Friday night’s game, is an elbow fracture. By Sunday, the prognosis was updated as follows:
Michael King will need surgery to repair his fractured elbow, Aaron Boone said. He could be ready for Spring Training if that's all he needs, however, Tommy John surgery is also a possibility.— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) July 24, 2022
Tommy John or not, King is down and out for the remainder of 2022. Some implications for the Yankees (who managed to win on Friday night even after King’s departure) include:
The need for a bullpen arm before the trade deadline
As the August 2 MLB trade deadline approaches, a bullpen arm needs to be a priority focus for the Yankees. Truthfully, it should have been a focus prior to King’s injury, what with Green still out for the season, and Britton only beginning “mound work” within this upcoming week, according to CBS Sports.
Chappy, Lasagna and Wandy need to step it up
Wandy Peralta has put together a terrific body of work so far this season -- even getting a nod from WFAN’s Suzyn Waldman as part of the Yankees’ “troika” of shutdown relievers that also included King and Holmes. He’s touting a 2.27 ERA on the season, with 29 strikeouts in 33 game appearances. Peralta stepping it up is not a concern as he’ll rise to the challenge based on his performance so far this season. However, Loaisiaga hasn’t looked consistent since his return from the I.L. In 22 game appearances in 2022, he’s allowed 23 hits and 17 runs, all of which were earned runs. He’s also sporting the highest ERA of his career at 7.52. As far as Chapman, his difficulties require no introduction. He’s allowed 4 home runs (not just runs, HOME runs) over 20.1 innings pitched. If you’ve watched any of Chapman’s game appearances since 2020, you’ve seen him walk batter after batter, only to then witness him give up a game-ending hit. No one wants to see him enter the game.
Offensive consistency can save bullpen arms
Over the most recent stretch, the Yankees’ offense either beats the Red Sox by ten or more runs, or will drop leads to the Orioles and lose by two to three runs. In order to feel comfortable with the likes of Champan or Loaisiaga in the game, insurance runs will only help the Yankees. Of course, they can’t win by ten runs in every game, but fewer losing scores of 6-3 or 5-2 will allow Aaron Boone to keep starting pitchers in the game for longer, and keep Holmes from wearing down.
Overall, losing King to injury is both sad and impactful for the Yankees. However, that’s not to say that their playoff hopes are over… if they stay the course stated above.