Sunday, December 16, 2007

The case for Freddy Garcia

so Hiroki Kuroda signed with the Dodgers - and all in Mariner land gnash their teeth, wail at the sky, and pull at their hair. Here's my prediction on what that $35 million buys them: 12 wins and about a 4.85 ERA. Whoopie.

The scarier part about this whole scenario is what to do next. Doing nothing gives us a back end of the rotation with Brandon Morrow, Ryan Rowland-Smith, or maybe their big acquisition thus far - R.A. Dickey. Yeesh. Morrow could certainly develop into something solid, but he still remains unproven as a starter.

Many fear the M's will take the $36 million they had out for Kuroda and slide that proverbial envelope across the table to the agent of Kyle Lohse. Perhaps even worse, upping that to 4-years $40 million and giving it to Carlos Silva.

In Lohse, you have a guy that you would pray could win you 11 games and at least keep you in half of the other games he starts. The remainder, you pretty much know he's likely to get shelled. There's nothing exciting about paying top dollar for a 4.80 ERA and a .284 BAA. That's the absolute best you'll get from him, unless Lohse discovers a new undetectable drug, "HTH" - Human Talent Hormone - and takes a shitload of it.

In Silva, you get a right handed Washburn with inhuman control. He misses few bats, gives up a ton of hits, and lives and dies by put-it-in-play outs, except his usually come on the ground instead of Washburn's warning-track outs. Opposing batters actually hit .324 off of him in '06. .324!

Both of these guys, because of the market - are due huge paydays. They are back of the rotation guys at best - and frankly, a good team wouldn't even have a Kyle Lohse on their roster (sorry Kyle, I'm sure you're a super guy and all...).

So...running the risk of sounding like the good Reverend Jackson, if not them, who?

I'm not the first to say so, but I lend full support to the notion of making some high-risk, low cost, potential high-reward deals (this, of course, is in direct opposition to the high-risk, high cost, low reward potential of Jeff Weaver, just in case you needed the bizarro scenario). Leading that list would be Freddy Garcia. Yes, last year was a disaster - but in seven of his nine seasons, he's thrown over 200 innings, he has a career ERA of 4.07 (3.87 in '05 and 4.53 in '06) and he has won 12 or more games in every season which he was healthy. It seems to me that it is entirely likely that, if healthy, he posts a season no worse than Kuroda. And it's likely that it would only take a two year commitment, maybe $15 mil total, to get him.

Head case, check. Out of shape, check. Injury risk, check. But for a team as desperate as the M's, that seems like the right kind of risk to be taking.

Another guy is Bartolo Colon, who was apparently nicknamed "Boogie Bear" in Anaheim, so from now on he will be referred to simply as "Boogie", largely because it's fun and I'll probably not write about him much in the future. When you're 270 lbs. and you stand 5' 11", it's no damned wonder you're having back spasms - but the fact of the matter is, Colon has been dominant as a fat, bloated pig in the past - and if some trainer can work magic on his elbow, there's not a whole lot that says he can't do it again. But who really knows if he can get his moving parts happy enough to pitch again. However - it'll probably take only two years for Boogie to sign somewhere, and it's probably in the same region as Freddy $$.

Head case, check. Out of shape, check. Injury risk, check. But again, we're looking for lighting in a bottle here, folks.

Lastly - I've said it before... I think they should take a flier on Prior. There are a dozen other teams thinking the same thing, but I'm not sure there's another team more desperate.

Between the three of these arms from the scrap heap, something's got to pan out. If you're lucky enough, one of them actually contributes for two years, which helps you fill a rotation slot next year when Washburn finally walks (collective hooray!).



Jon Shields said...

Rehab Scrap Heap:
1.) Bartolo Colon (opening day, baby)
2.) Mark Prior (available in May-June)
3.) Freddy Garcia (available around the All-Star break)

I dunno about Garcia, the guy gave up 61 home runs in his two final seasons with the Mariners (in a pitcher's haven).

Michael said...

despite the timelines, they are all more attractive than blowing several years of salary on Lohse and Silva. I'd rather see nothing done at all rather than that.