In a move made to bolster the starting rotation with ace C.C. Sabathia on the disabled list, the Yankees have elected to grab veteran Derek Lowe off the scrap heap. Lowe, 39, was released by the Indians on August 10 after being designated for assignment on August 2. The Braves are paying $10 million of Lowe’s salary this season, with the Indians picking up the other $5 million. For the Yankees, this move represents a minimal cost opportunity to patch up their rotation should the need arise.
On the season, Lowe is 8-10 with a 5.52 ERA in 21 starts compromising 119 innings with Cleveland. He still has the ability to get a huge number of ground balls (60% in 2012), but his K/9 rate (3.1) is less than half of what it was a year ago with the Braves and he’s giving up almost 12 hits per nine innings pitched. Because his BABIP is .333 and he’s stranded an unusually low percentage of base runners, Lowe’s FIP is just 4.48, so he’s been a little better than his ERA suggests, but at this point in his career he’s nothing more than an innings guy at the back of a rotation. Pitching in the dangerous AL East won’t help matters, either.
Initially, New York intends to use Lowe in a bullpen role, as David Phelps is scheduled to get his second start of the season on Monday. The Yankees come into play on Sunday with a league best record of 67-46 and a comfortable six-game lead over the Rays, so provided Sabathia doesn’t miss too much time — and he is only expected to be out of action a couple weeks — this chain of transactions should have a minimal impact on the team’s playoff push.