It’s time for the Cleveland Indians to cut ties with Bryan Shaw
It’s been a tale of two seasons for Bryan Shaw. After a string of difficult seasons since his last departure from Cleveland, it seemed like maybe Shaw was finding his stride again in the first half. However, after multiple rough appearances in a row it seems like Shaw has once again fallen into a rut that should end his time on Cleveland’s roster.
The 33-year old reliever made his return to Cleveland this past offseason, signing a deal for $1 million dollars and earning a spot on the major league roster out of Spring Training. Shaw’s first stint with the Tribe lasted five years and saw him become a key piece in the back end of the bullpen, leading the majors in games pitched twice.
At the beginning of the season it had appeared that Shaw had reprised his role. Not every outing was smooth, but there were flashes that maybe he could be back into his old form. Then, the All-Star break arrived and the wheels fell off for Shaw.
After logging an ERA of 3.05 in the first half of the season, Shaw is riding a mark of 3.60 in the second half. He’s also given up just one less hit despite pitching 23.1 fewer innings. His strikeouts per nine have dropped more than three full strikeouts and his WHIP has gone from 1.330 to 1.733, despite only four walks.
The end of July was a bit brutal for Shaw. From July 21 through the end of the month, he tossed 5.1 innings over six appearances. Over those he gave up 14 hits, six runs, four of which were earned, and struck out just one while giving up two home runs. He also blew two save opportunities, including a loss in extra innings.
Once the calendar flipped to August things improved a bit for Shaw. Over his first seven appearances of the month, he tossed 6.1 innings and gave up just three hits and no runs. He did walk two, but he managed to strikeout six, a strong improvement but it did include another blown save. Then Saturday night against the Tigers happened.
The Cleveland Indians had battled back from a deficit to tie it up in Detroit and Bryan Shaw exited the bullpen doors to come on in relief. He didn’t make it out of the inning. Recording just one out, Shaw gave up two runs on three hits and one walk, giving the lead back to the Tigers and recording his sixth loss of the season, and third since July 22, in the process.
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Given the rough patch over the last few weeks for Shaw paired with the team’s aim the rest of the season to instill as much youth into the roster as possible, it’s time to release Shaw. At this point in the season his role is expendable and with him struggling on the mound the stars are aligning for a roster move.
There’s a reason that teams weren’t interested in Shaw at the deadline and the end of July, heading into the deadline, reinforced those opinions. Now, he’s running out of gas in Cleveland and for the team it makes more sense to just release him.
While there aren’t a ton of great options to take his place, it would open up opportunities for other pitchers to take innings. Players like Trevor Stephan, Alex Young, Justin Garza and other young pitchers can take Shaw’s innings and get a test run for the future. Best case scenario they prove themselves and find a role to defend heading into Spring Training. Worst case, they implode and post essentially the same as what Shaw would.
At one point this season, Shaw was a key piece in the bullpen in holding down the late innings. However, his recent bout of struggles should spell the end to his tenure with the Tribe. He isn’t part of the long-term plans and is just clogging opportunities that could be used to develop younger pitchers and give them a taste of the majors. For that reason, it’s time to just cut ties with the reliever now and look to the future with his roster spot. He’s been a solid player at times, but it’s time to move on.