Friday, June 04, 2004

Fifth Starter - Death Should Be An Option

Here's a comment that's worth a blog post:

On : 6/4/2004 1:01:21 PM Ilk (www) said:

C-Wint, with death not being an option..who is our best chioce for a 5th starter of these 3--Benson, Garcia or Perez, and what are you willing to give up for the?
Those three choices are all pretty crappy, I have to say, so it's a matter of which is less crappy than the rest. Here's what I see are the pros and cons of all three:

Kris Benson (aka "Assistant to the Governor"):
2004 Salary: $6,150,000
Current Stats: 4-4, 5.64 ERA, 60.2 IP, 27 BB, 41 K, WHIP 1.75

Pros - Benson has shown flashes of his good stuff this year - he's had three real good games, April 12 vs. the Cubs, April 18 vs. the Mets, and April 30 vs. the Brewers.. Notice a pattern? Benson's been crappy thus far in May/June, getting smoked a couple of times by St. Louis, and once each by Houston and Colorado. He had an 8.10 ERA for May. His GB/FB ratio is OK at 86/68 and only has given up 7 homers, but the opposition is hitting .317 off of him. Ouch.

The only "pros" I can see with Benson is that he will come cheap - he's pretty much pitched himself out of any real trade value. But he'll cost $3 million for half a season unless the Pirates pick up some of the money. If the Pirates will eat the $3 million and are willing to take someone like Josh Stewart, then OK. He might be good in a relief role - so far the opposition has only a .626 OPS against him in his first inning of work.

Likely cost: B-list SP prospect (Josh Stewart LHP-AAA, Felix Diaz RHP-AAA) + B-list AA or A position prospect(Spidale OF-AA, Nanita- OF-A).
Likely benefit: 5th Starter/Long relief - 5.5 ERA, Sox win 30-40% of games started. Free agent at end of season.

Odalis Perez (aka "People vs. Head, La Docket No. 26")
2004 Salary: $5,000,000
Current Stats: 2-3, 3.05 ERA, 73.2 IP, 17 BB, 53 K, WHIP 1.10

Perez is having a pretty nice year - the 1.10 WHIP and 17 BB in 73.2 IP is pretty nice. His half-season salary of $2.5 million is not too bad, and he's had a history of success. Believe it or not, he's got an 1.80 ERA away from Chavez Ravine - an excellent performance for a Dodger pitcher.

Perez is clearly performing the best of the three options, and he's the youngest at 26 years old. But he's also apparently a creator of chemistry problems - he's a little bit H2SO4 to add to the mix. Because of that, he's worn out his welcome to some extent with the Dodgers, reducing his trade value - but not by much. He's going to cost the White Sox a pretty penny if they can get him. Right now, he's the Dodgers' best starting pitcher.

Before the season, he was (allegedly) going to cost Konerko. Now, with Maggs out and Konerko hitting well, that price is too steep. He might cost, say, Carlos Lee + Arnie Munoz for the rest of the season, a price a little too steep to pay. If he can be had reasonably, I like him. I think Guillen seems to have a clubhouse touch so far this year, and the Sox don't have any other headcases. He'd be a nice pick up, and would probably be the Sox's #3 man based on his performance - ahead of Schoeneweis and Garland.

Likely cost: Starting outfielder/1B (Carlos Lee, Paul Konerko) plus B-list AAA or AA prospect (Arnie Munoz, LHP-AA, Michael Morse, SS-AA).
Likely benefit: 2/3 starter in playoffs, 3.50 or better ERA, White Sox win 60% of games started. Free agent at end of season.

Freddy Garcia (aka "the Loafer" aka "the Tipper")
2004 Salary: $6,875,000
Current Stats: 3-3, 3.01 ERA, 68.2 IP, 21 BB, 51 K, WHIP 1.24

Freddy's pitched much better this year after getting smoked last year to the tune of a 4.85 ERA away from spacious SafeCo field. One of the reasons for the shelling, the Mariners announcers suspected, was that he was tipping his pitches. That can be a problem. There are also rumors that he tends to phone it in and he's got a slight attitude problem. I don't know the basis for those rumors, but there is enough smoke to put a question mark beside his name in the chemistry column.

This year, he's running a 4.15 ERA away from SafeCo again - not too impressive, with 40 hits and 4 homers in 34.2 innings. This stats are OK, but not great. I'd plug him in as the fourth or fifth starter right - he's not pitching much better than Garland or Schoeneweis right now, given these figures away from SafeCo.

One huge positive is that Garcia is from Venezuela, a la Ozzie Guillen. I think that Guillen would therefore be more likely to motivate Garcia and make him happy. That could boost his performance in a Sox uniform and make him more likely to re-sign at the end of the year.

What will he cost? That's a good question. The rumor in the Seattle Times has Seattle asking for Rauch, Borchard and Rowand. Rauch is no big loss - Kenny's done with him anyway - and Rowand has played himelf out of a job anyway. But Borchard, too? Three weeks ago, I would have said, "Done!," but Borchard has shown enough flashes that he looks like he's not a throw-in to a deal anymore. I'd like to hold out Borchard for a deal for a middle reliever/set-up guy, which the Sox desperately need. My guess is that the Rowand/Rauch/Borchard deal is an initial offer by Seattle and that they'd probably take Rauch/Rowand plus a A or AA prospect - maybe Dennis Ulacia, a Mike Morse, or someone of that ilk.

The only question left would be whether Seattle would pick up some of Garcia's $3.4 million pay during the second half. I'd probably say some, but not all like Texas did with Carl Everett or the Mets did with Roberto Alomar. Of all the deals, I think this is the most likely to happen because of Seattle's desire to get rid of him and Ozzie's connection to him.

Likely cost: A-list position prospect (Joe Borchard, Jeremy Reed) + B-list starting prospect(Rauch RHP-AAA, Felix Diaz RHP-AAA) + ML platoon player (Rowand, Gload, Perez).
Likely benefit: 3rd/4th Starter - 4.2 ERA, Sox win 50-60% of games started. Free agent at end of season.

Final Analysis:

I think that the most likely deal is Freddy Garcia, but Odalis Perez would be the best pitcher the Sox could get. The thing about these three pitchers is that none of the three really fit the top-of-the-rotation bill the White Sox so desparately need. The Sox need someone who will go toe-to-toe with Kevin Brown, Pedro Martinez or Tim Hudson in Game 1 of the playoffs and the Yankees, Red Sox or A's will have to worry about being evenly or over-matched. Otherwise, the playoffs will likely be a short trip for the Sox. They've shown they can't bash their way past Kevin Brown or Javier Vasquez. The Big Unit would be a great pickup from this standpoint, but don't hold your breath.

I'm still not sure that Tomo Okha wouldn't be the best value (see post below). He's cheap, he's good, and he might not cost a lot in terms of trade value. Right now, he'd be the Sox #2 starter.

Comments-[ comments.]
Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?