A New Pitch?

A new week of the Hot Stove Season dawns with this rumor: That Tim Wakefield will retire rather than pitch in 2009.

If true, that leaves the Red Sox with a big hole — you cannot replace a starter who consistently posts a 100-115 ERA+ over 200 innings with a salary of just $4 million. On the other hand, it would eliminate the need for a specialized Wakefield-only catcher, making perhaps more possible a Varitek-Saltalamacchia semiplatoon as the one passes his baton to the other.

And if true, it makes more likely a push to bring back Derek Lowe, an idea that just won't go away, and makes those Julio Lugo-for-Dontrelle Willis (or Nate Robertson) rumors much more attractive — if the Sox can figure out what has gone so terribly wrong with what was once such a terrific young pitcher.

Could a rotation of Lester-Beckett-Matsuzaka-Lowe-Willis work for the Red Sox? Sure, as long as Michael Bowden is ready to start at any time.
91 comments… add one
  • Willis huh? That would be great from a YF perspective….

    Sam-YF November 17, 2008, 10:07 am
  • Lowe and Willis? Really?
    If Matsuzaka continues to be a 5-inning pitcher, that bullpen is going to get creamed.

    AndrewYF November 17, 2008, 10:25 am
  • I’d love to get Willis, and maybe take the flier on figuring out why he’s gone so far south.
    He was so good..It’s hard to figure, but well worth the shot. Plus, it removes Lugo, which is the much more important issue here.

    Brad November 17, 2008, 10:31 am
  • That’s going to be one tough platoon, what with Salty being on the Rangers. (Also, isn’t his future at 1b?)

    YF November 17, 2008, 10:31 am
  • I love Wakefield, and he’s been a fantastic option, but this might be the best move. Nab up Lowe and D-Train, trade Cash and use Varitek/Salty behind the plate. Sign Furcal for SS and use Lowrie as a utility infielder. Bowden/Buchholz could be ready in the wings if needed, unless of course one of them is traded for Salty.

    Atheose November 17, 2008, 10:31 am
  • One of them is definitely gone if Salty is on the Sox next year, IMHO, Ath.
    Probably the subject of an earlier thread, Lars, is gone in that deal as well.

    Brad November 17, 2008, 10:38 am
  • Wait quick question… are the Sox still responsible for the 4mil since we picked up his option? Or is that refundable since he’s retiring? The sentiment in that SOSH thread is that the Sox are still responsible for his 2009 salary.

    Atheose November 17, 2008, 10:38 am
  • I can’t imagine that’s the case, Atheose. If he retires, he’s essentially giving up his right to get paid for his service, I would think.

    Brad November 17, 2008, 10:40 am
  • According to MLB Rumors, the Rangers want either Buchholz for Salty, or 2 out of: Masterson/Hagadone/Bowden. So yeah, Salty ain’t cheap.
    And I thought so too Brad, which is why the SOSH guys have me so confused.
    Also, this makes it more likely the Sox get Burnett as well. Also, what bout Byrd? I’m not a huge fan of his, but he’s been pretty much league-average for 5 straight years, and is an innings-eater too. He’d be a fine #5, in my opinion.

    Atheose November 17, 2008, 10:44 am
  • I say NO to 45 year old pitchers who rely on some kind of abnormal delivery or funky pitch. They only let you down when you need them.
    I say yes to Burnett and the Lugo move. Burnett was my number one wish anyhow, since I have the feeling CC’s arm is going to fall off.

    Brad November 17, 2008, 10:47 am
  • Burnett was my number one wish anyhow, since I have the feeling CC’s arm is going to fall off.
    I’m not sure I understand this logic. In the last 6 years Burnett has only pitched 2 full seasons, and guess what: both were in contract years. Everyone talks about how filthy Burnett’s stuff is, but what good is he if he’s injured every year? I would like him on my team, but he’s a huge risk. Same goes for Sheets.
    Byrd and Wakefield are both cheap and efficient. If Wakefield’s shoulder is bothering him, then his retirement may be the best thing for everyone involved. But it’s certainly not a good thing for the Red Sox, who now have two pitcher holes to fill instead of one.
    Also, Theo has said that he wants to extend Youk, Pedroia, Lester and Papelbon soon. Signing two expensive SP’s this offseason might make this harder to do, especially if we end up getting Tex too. I think we get Lowe, but use someone cheaper and more reliable for the #5 spot than Burnett. The last thing we need is a Pavano situation where we’re paying a player to sit on the DL for his entire contract.

    Atheose November 17, 2008, 10:57 am
  • Atheose, I agree with what you’ve said, but I’ve always said that when you give a player a reason to play, he will play through some little nagging injuries. Like Beckett before coming to Boston. He was on the DL a lot, and people used that as ammo as to why the deal wasn’t smart.
    Burnett being on a winning team might go a long way to him wanting to actually pitch. I know it’s a terrible way to look at it, but it’s what I really think goes on with him.
    I’ll take Burnett, and his filthy stuff, and let the cards fall where they might. At least with guys like Wakefield and Byrd, you know that the cards are going to fall – or crash..however you want to look at it.

    Brad November 17, 2008, 11:06 am
  • A front four of Beckett, Lester, Burnett, and Matsuzaka are as fearsome as anything any team in baseball (no matter who gets Sheets or CC) can throw out there. Of course health is a problem, but it’s that way with every single team out there.
    Imagine going into a playoff series with that rotation lined up. You’d have to feel pretty good about it. I’ve seen CC in the playoffs before against Boston, and it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. I’ll take Burnett, and the risk.

    Brad November 17, 2008, 11:08 am
  • And I’ve been down the Lowe road before..rememeber, a few years ago? – just before going to the NL and those weak teams letting him look good again?

    Brad November 17, 2008, 11:10 am
  • I think Beckett’s issue was unique because his injuries were almost exclusively blister-related:
    Jun 30, 2005: Missed 13 games (blister).
    Jun 17, 2005: Blister, 15-day DL (retroactive to Jun 15).
    Jun 15, 2005: Blister, day-to-day.
    Jan 18, 2005: Re-signed by the Florida Marlins to a one-year contract.
    Nov 22, 2004: Signed as a free agent by the Yomiuri Giants to a one-year contract.
    Oct 28, 2004: Filed for free agency.
    Jul 30, 2004: Missed 19 games (right finger injury).
    Jul 6, 2004: Right finger injury, 15-day DL.
    Jul 5, 2004: Missed 16 games (left side).
    Jun 25, 2004: Left side, 15-day DL (retroactive to June 18).
    Jun 17, 2004: Missed 15 games (blister).
    May 30, 2004: Blister, 15-day DL.
    Mar 2, 2004: Re-signed by the Florida Marlins to a one-year contract.
    Jul 1, 2003: Missed 49 games (elbow injury).
    May 9, 2003: Elbow injury, 15-day DL (retroactive to May 8th).
    May 8, 2003: Elbow injury, day-to-day.
    Sep 11, 2002: Missed 17 games (blister).
    Aug 23, 2002: Blister, 15-day DL.
    Jul 16, 2002: Missed 33 games (finger injury).
    Jun 6, 2002: Finger injury, 15-day DL.
    May 14, 2002: Missed 13 games (blister).
    May 1, 2002: Blister,15-day DL (retroactive to April 29th).
    Sep 30, 2001: Missed 9 games (finger injury).
    Sep 24, 2001: Finger injury, day-to-day.
    In the span of 5 seasons he had 8 blister-related injuries, and 2 others (elbow and side). Burnett, meanwhile, has been put on the DL 5 times for elbow/shoulder problems. Those aren’t just a few isolated instances, that’s a trend.
    He was fine throughout 2008, but his stats weren’t exactly mind-blowing: 4.07 ERA, 1.342 WHIP, both the highest in his career in seasons over 100 innings. Byrd is a little bit worse, but he’s also more likely to give you a full season. He’s also going to be MUCH cheaper, and more cost-effective.
    So essentially you could either keep Byrd for 7.5 mil, or get Burnett for twice that at around 15. I’d rather use the extra money in other areas (like more bullpen help), or to extend Youk/Pedroia/Paps/Lester. The Sox can go after Lackey and Webb in 2010 anyways.

    Atheose November 17, 2008, 11:24 am
  • Na. I can’t agree with this.

    Brad November 17, 2008, 11:40 am
  • I guess a lot of this has to do with my Burnett/Beckett man crush, but still, I’m so tired of seeing 45 year old guys throw 60 and 70mph. It’s disgusting, and they always let you down when you need them. They can’t beat good teams anymore (see Wakefield v. NYY the last few seasons).
    I like guys who can throw, and on any given day may fan 13 or 18. I don’t like guys, like Lowe and Wang, who give up a ton of balls in play, and you know well beforehand that it’s going to happen that way.
    I just hope the Red Sox move on away from these older guys. I pay close to 200 bucks to get into Fenway, what the hell do I care which guy is cheaper – it’s not going to be any cheaper for me to see them play.
    Red Sox saving money does not equal me saving money in any way.

    Brad November 17, 2008, 11:49 am
  • I’ll be happy to admit I was wrong if it plays out like you say, Atheose. But, at least I know if I agree with you, we already know how it’s going to play out. Not good.

    Brad November 17, 2008, 11:51 am
  • Beckett has had a grand total of two healthy seasons…and even his career year in 2007 wasn’t injury-free. He’s absolutely no certainty when it comes to health, and it would be almost as much of a mistake to bank on it as it would be with Burnett. What is it with these Florida pitchers?
    I just don’t understand why Sabathia is viewed as more of a risk than guys who have actually had a history of injury.

    AndrewYF November 17, 2008, 12:03 pm
  • No problem Brad, we’ll see it play out. If you’re right and Burnett is fantastic from here on out I’ll be as happy as anyone (as long as he’s on our team). I just think he’s too risky.
    With regards to Beckett, the trend was very clear: blisters caused by the Florida humidity. Burnett’s injuries are a trend of arm and shoulder problems.

    Atheose November 17, 2008, 12:08 pm
  • In my opinion, CC is an overweight, overused pitcher, who at some point, will have something go wrong because of the innings. He was a horse in a very weak NL, threw a ton of complete games, and logged more innings last year then ever before.
    It he doesn’t get hurt, it’ll be a bigger story than when he does.
    Also, I agree. Beckett isn’t injury free. No pitcher is. Beckett is as good as any pitcher in baseball, hands down. Every pitcher in baseball is an “injury risk”, and when you start factoring in other stuff (like 500ip in two seasons), then the risks become more apparent.
    I guess it’s scary to think about no matter who it is. Plus, I’m sure if CC was coming to the Red Sox, every single Yankee fan would be calling out the same injury concerns as the rest of baseball is now. It is, after all, a Yankee thing. /:)

    Brad November 17, 2008, 12:14 pm
  • Didn’t Beckett have a recurring back problem this year, as well as some elbow problems which may or may not have led to his postseason suckitude? How are those not a lingering concern?

    AndrewYF November 17, 2008, 12:15 pm
  • Beckett is most assuredly not ‘as good as any pitcher in baseball’. Sorry. That’s patently ridiculous. He’s not as effective as Halladay, and has much more injury concerns than many pitchers, including Sabathia.
    He’s had one charmed season, in 2007. Das it.

    AndrewYF November 17, 2008, 12:19 pm
  • And, I don’t care if Burnett is good from here on out. I think he’ll be as reliable as Beckett is, which is pretty damn good.
    But, would Beckett have pitched with a strained oblique if he were in Toronto? I say no, which is why I think most of Burnetts injuries are team related.
    I’m willing to take the risk. It’s not 30million for CC (which has every single opportunity to look just like Barry Zito), and it’s not throwing in the towell like re-upping for a guy like Byrd.
    It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

    Brad November 17, 2008, 12:19 pm
  • Okay, Andrew.
    Hate much?
    Now, go get a bunch of cherry picked stats that support your argument, and tell us all how you’d rather have Wang or Joba.
    He’s as good as there is in baseball. Maybe not all the time, but when he’s healthy, there isn’t a GM in baseball that wouldn’t love to have him going in game one.

    Brad November 17, 2008, 12:23 pm
  • If the Red Sox were to get Burnett, and next years rotation looks like this:
    Beckett
    Lester
    Burnett
    Matsuzaka
    ?
    I don’t care who you are, you’re lying to yourself if you think that isn’t as good or better than as there is in baseball. I mean, i know most of them have only had one good year (and das it!), but I take my chances with that four every single day of the week.

    Brad November 17, 2008, 12:27 pm
  • Yeah Andrew, I was just referring to past history–someone above mentioned how there were concerns regarding Beckett being injury prone when we traded for him. I was trying to show how there are differences between Beckett’s situation and Burnett’s.
    Also, regarding Sabathia… I can understand mentioning his weight as a concern, but pitching 250 innings a season is not something to worry about, no matter what anyone says. Pitchers used to go 300+ innings a year no problem, and the only reason that has declined is because of the more prevalent use of middle-relievers. I don’t think that someone of Sabathia’s skill suddenly pitching a few more innings than usual is a cause for concern. But like you said, we’ll see how it plays out. Hopefully if Sabathia’s body does breakdown it’ll be for the Yanks.

    Atheose November 17, 2008, 12:28 pm
  • I’m pretty sure most GMs would rather have, say, Halladay, Lincecum, or Sabathia, but hey, that’s only because they’re better.
    Those guys are tier-1, top of the line starters, who also have (relatively) little risk of injury. Beckett is in a tier below. His stuff may compare, sometimes, but his health is and has always been a constant question. It’s simply not true that he’s as good as any starter in baseball, no matter how much you love him.

    AndrewYF November 17, 2008, 12:31 pm
  • Hey relax Brad… to an extent Andrew is right regarding Beckett. Having said that, Beckett is as good as it gets when he’s 100% healthy.
    I don’t care who you are, you’re lying to yourself if you think that isn’t as good or better than as there is in baseball.
    The Yankees hypothetical rotation of Sabathia/Peavy/Wang/Joba is better.

    Atheose November 17, 2008, 12:34 pm
  • A few things:
    1. If Wakefield retires before the start of spring training, the Sox would not have to pay him. The SOSH thread is based on an unrealistic assumption that the Sox would just pay him anyway (as opposed to offering him a FO or pitching-related organizational job).
    2. Lowe surely has benefited from being in the NL — and he surely was awful in 2004, his last AL season — and he will not be as good for whichever team he signs with (in either league) as he was in 2008. But he was also unlucky in 2004, and the Sox would not be asking him to be the 2/3 pitcher he was with the Dodgers. They would be asking him to be a 4/5. I think Lowe can still be a 3/4.The question is how much he demands, and whether he’d be willing to take a discount to go back to his stated preference.
    3. Burnett has too many injury issues for me, as well as some serious focus/underperformance issues when you look at his peripherals. I’d pass in favor of a lower-risk, lower-upside pitcher like Lowe. We’re not talking about the top three slots here.
    4. Using that logic, I might simply prefer re-signing Byrd over trading for Willis. But Willis’ upside is so high, and I wonder if John Farrell couldn’t figure out what his problem has been.
    5. To YF’s point, it seems inconceivable to me that the Red Sox do not make a trade with the Rangers involving Clay Buchholz and either Saltalamacchia or Teagarden. I’m torn on which I prefer, but it’s clear the Sox desperately need a young quality catcher and the Rangers need young quality starting pitching. It makes too much sense for a deal not to get done, unless Epstein truly does overvalue his own prospects, as has been alleged in the past.
    In any case, this is shaping up to be an active postseason for the Sox, I think. I envision a trade for catching, a trade of Lugo for pitching, a couple of the usual middle relief signings, a likely trade of Crisp, and a significant push for Teixeira, with a resulting trade of Mike Lowell (though that probably wouldn’t occur until he can show he’s healthy during spring training).

    Paul SF November 17, 2008, 12:37 pm
  • Yeah, okay guy.
    Suddenly Beckett isn’t an ace anymore?
    I guess it’s okay, because Lester is every bit as good as CC, and getting better, so I guess it’s okay if Beckett is a number three.
    Re: CC injury concern. I can remember another hugely hyped left hander, who was as durable as any pitcher in baseball, and the huge inning numbers were to his benifit. He was a winning pitcher, with a Cy Young or two in his pocket, and had led his team to the countless playoff victories, and in return, was awarded with a huge contract.
    Barry Zito.
    I firmly believe, like Andrew, that all pitchers are huge injury risks. I guess it’s just a matter if you’re paying them 12-15 million a year. Or 27.

    Brad November 17, 2008, 12:41 pm
  • Ath, I don’t agree.
    Lester is as good as CC, I think. CC is awesome, but Lester was as good as any lefty in baseball this year, and you can’t think he’s on a regression mode anytime soon, since the fact remains that this was his comeback year.
    Beckett is as good as Peavy. Seriously, check out Peavy’s numbers against the AL and even better, away from SD.
    Burnett is as goood as any of them, but much less consistent as Wang, so edge wang.
    Joba is only going to throw 150ip this year, if he can stay healthy for that (lest we forget he’s as injury prone as any of them, and that goes all the way back to Nebraska).
    I guess that’s why they play the games though.
    There’s a real chance that CC stays out West, Burnett goes to some wild card, and we’re all talking about the same rotations we had last year. ha.

    Brad November 17, 2008, 12:46 pm
  • Suddenly Beckett isn’t an ace anymore?
    Who said that dude? You’re going a little overboard with your love for Beckett. I have a massive man-crush on him too, but what Andrew said was correct.
    Brad, your statement that “all pitchers are huge injury risks” is flawed because it’s a blank statement. It’s true, but some pitchers are bigger injury risks than others. Burnett is one of them. Lester very may well be better than Sabathia one day, but right now he’s not. Sabathia may be an injury risk, but most people would take him over Beckett right now. Trying to insist on the opposite is just beating your head against the wall.

    Atheose November 17, 2008, 12:47 pm
  • So is this assuming the Sox trade Buchholz to get Salty? Cause I dont think thats happening. People are down on Buchholz but I swear, if the sox trade him, they will regret it for a long time. The kid is going to be a stud. He had growing pains last year but there is no reason, none to think that he wont figure out his fastball issues and be a dominant, cost-effective starter. Trade Bowden and Hagadone if they have to have Salty but leave Buchholz where he is. He’ll be the best 4th or 5th starter in the league this year if they give him the chance.

    Pete November 17, 2008, 12:55 pm
  • Not sure if people have already seen this, but perhaps this 16 year old from Japan could be Wake’s replacement?
    http://www.cogitamusblog.com/2008/11/throws-like-a-g.html
    Original: http://sport.id.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=1789554

    rk November 17, 2008, 12:58 pm
  • I agree. I get all worked up when someone shats on Beckett. hahaha.
    You’re right, Andrew. He is an injury risk, but he’s most certainly one of the best pitchers in this game when he’s healthy.

    Brad November 17, 2008, 12:59 pm
  • I hope you’re right Pete; he’s been tearing up the league he’s in right now apparently, though I don’t have any numbers. Paul, do you know where we can find that information?

    Atheose November 17, 2008, 1:00 pm
  • I think we can all safely ignore anyone who tries to compare Barry Zito and CC Sabathia, as they have shown they have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about.
    And, my god, Lester is as good as CC? Seriously? Even with all the caveats as to can he repeat it, what about the massive innings jump, Lester’s ‘as good as any lefty in baseball’ (apparently Johan Santana and Cole Hamels don’t exist) season isn’t as good as any of CC’s last THREE.
    Yeah. I think we can all safely ignore Brad when it comes to baseball discussion.

    AndrewYF November 17, 2008, 1:00 pm
  • Okay, my tone was a little over the top.
    Brad shouldn’t be ignored.

    AndrewYF November 17, 2008, 1:01 pm
  • Yeah, you cannot legitimately say Lester is as good as Sabathia, or even the best lefty in baseball — Cliff Lee is a lefty and now has as many excellent seasons under his belt as Lester, Cole Hamels is as young as Lester is while posting similar numbers last year, and Johan Santana still had a damn fine season.
    Looking at a comp between the two is exciting though. If Lester can keep it up (always a caveat), he could in a couple years be better than Sabathia is now and not have the weight/overuse concerns Sabathia legitimately has.

    Paul SF November 17, 2008, 1:03 pm
  • wtf.

    Brad November 17, 2008, 1:03 pm
  • Buchholz tore up the AFL in his first few starts, then got hammered in his last few. So basically just like his MLB career.

    Paul SF November 17, 2008, 1:06 pm
  • why can’t we compare CC and Zito?
    The numbers are almost exactly the same. Where doesn’t the comparison exist?
    In fact, Zito put up better numbers than CC in several categories before signing that huge contract. And he, unlike CC, went to a weaker league in a bigger ballpark.
    Why is there no comparison – because you don’t want there to be? I think the comparison holds water when we’re looking at stats, so unless we’re just dismissing the idea based on personal beliefs, why is there no comparison?
    He threw as manny innings, had as many wins, as many K’s, as many walks, as many everyting. Where doesn’t the comparison hold water?

    Brad November 17, 2008, 1:09 pm
  • Brad, Andrew’s tone may be a little over the top but he’s right. Lester has had one fantastic season, but who knows whether or not he can continue it? And Santana is still better, as is Cole Hamels. Lester, Sabathia and Hamels have similar ERA’s, but if you look at their WHIP’s you’ll see Lester has been somewhat lucky. I have high hopes for him, but he’s still young and somewhat unproven. Give him some more time before calling him the best left-hander in the game.
    And there were plenty of scouts who criticized Zito when he won the Cy and got that huge contract–plenty of people thought he was ready for a collapse due to the drop in his velocity and the lack of movement on his curve. Sabathia, aside from a little bit of talk about his innings, hasn’t had any of those problems.

    Atheose November 17, 2008, 1:09 pm
  • Hughes has alternated between being lights-out, effective, and craptacular in the AFL this year.
    So I’m currently waiting for his new non-arm related injury.

    AndrewYF November 17, 2008, 1:10 pm
  • His final numbers weren’t bad — such was the greatness of his first few starts:
    21 IP, 18 H, 9 ER, 9 BB, 17 K, 1 HR, 3.86 ERA, 1.29 WHIP
    He gave up 1 ER in 10 innings over two starts, and 8 ER in 11 innings over three starts. The problem seems to be, again, the big inning/pose:
    With bases empty: 9.2 IP, 8 H, 0 ER
    With runners on: 11.1 IP, 10 H, 9 ER
    Link

    Paul SF November 17, 2008, 1:12 pm
  • “Okay, my tone was a little over the top.”
    It’s okay – We don’t like each other at all, and really, have never agreed on anything baseball related. I’ve been proven both right and wrong with re: to arguments we’ve had over the years, as have you.
    If you want to ignore, by all means, please do.

    Brad November 17, 2008, 1:12 pm
  • Zito was clearly in decline when he signed with the Giants. Sabathia just had the best season of his career.
    I wouldn’t underestimate Lester though. Remember, he turned a corner in late May. His numbers from then on are even better than his full-season stats.

    Paul SF November 17, 2008, 1:14 pm
  • Brad, what?
    Aside from the only thing Zito has in common with Sabathia is his throwing arm (and soon a similar contract), his stats are across-the-board worse. He had FEWER strikeouts, and almost TWICE as many walks as Sabathia.
    Of course I don’t want there to be similarities between the two, but I’m helped by the fact that there simply aren’t any, whatsoever.

    AndrewYF November 17, 2008, 1:17 pm
  • okay, I get it. I should have qualified Lester’s performance by adding that it was just one year, and will be hard for him to repeat.
    But, if we’re going to break it all down, he doesn’t get to face the NL as well, and his numbers, as a whole, were just as good.
    He’s good. Not as good as CC’s body of work, but I don’t think it’s as cut an dry as it appears. Lester’s 2008 was phenomenal, and just as good as Cole and Johan’s when you take some of the other things into account.

    Brad November 17, 2008, 1:18 pm
  • Brad, I’m too lazy to look up the documentation to back this up but I remember there being a LOT of concern regarding Zito’s lack of velocity and pitch movement during the 2006/2007 offseason. A lot of scouts predicted that he was due for a quick, sharp decline.
    Sabathia has had zero issues, other than pure speculation regarding his weight. And weight alone is a far less worrisome issue than an arm-related problem. If Sabathia’s velocity and pitch movement were declining then your comparison would be valid.

    Atheose November 17, 2008, 1:19 pm
  • Andrew, are we looking at the same numbers? I missed the walks thing when looking. But, as I look at them, there are minimal difference between the two. Yes, they’re not the same, but they are definitely worthy of being put in the same boat several of those years.
    All I’m saying is this: when I look at CC’s body of work, I see Zito. A great lefty, who threw a bunch of innings, was just as good in some seasons as anyone in baseball, and signed a huge contract.
    I agree with Paul here though. He was definitely on the decline, while CC is not.
    I guess time will tell.
    Buchholz is a head case, Paul. For a guy who I jumped on the wagon so hard with, he’s most surely let me down quite a bit with the mental problems. I’ve had to eat a lot of crow with the NYY fans here in the lab.

    Brad November 17, 2008, 1:24 pm
  • You are correct, Atheose. In fact, I did look it up here, and I said the same things about him.
    No fastball, and a large workload. I agree that they’re not the same. CC always has that fastball at his disposal, which is something that Zito never had.
    I’m probably way off base, but I definitely feel the same way about CC. It’s too much of a risk. The Yankees will prob get their money’s worth, but if they don’t, that’s huge.

    Brad November 17, 2008, 1:26 pm
  • Brad, there is more similarities between Johan and Zito than Sabathia and Zito.
    What did you think of Johan last year?

    AndrewYF November 17, 2008, 1:27 pm
  • Here’s what I saw when I looked at these numbers:
    In 1807ip, Zito has throw to an ERA of 3.82, with an ERA+ of 116 and having allowed 1586 hits. In that time, he’s gone 123-93, with a WHIP of 1.29, and 1347K’s and 745 BB.
    CC has 1659ip to an ERA of 3.66 with an ERA+ of 121 and WHIP of 1.24. 1393K’s and 523 walks. (that’s not half).
    This takes into account Zito’s last two years in the NL, where his numbers have fallen off a cliff, and CC’s numbers in the NL, where they were off the chart.
    Those numbers don’t seem like “different worlds” to me. Same time span, same league, and very similar numbers.

    Brad November 17, 2008, 1:36 pm
  • Both Johan and CC were great last year, Andrew. You’re mistaking my comparison between Zito and CC as a disparaging act towards CC, when in fact, I like CC. I just happen to think that the numbers are pretty similar. Yes, CC is better on the whole than Zito was – I’m not arguing that at all, man. Of course Zito wasn’t as good as CC is, but they aren’t worlds apart on a stat page either.

    Brad November 17, 2008, 1:41 pm
  • I wish someone would sign somewhere so we could all tear it apart, and not argue over hypothetical situations.
    I’m sorry if I’ve come off harsh, Andrew. My tone was over the top as well. But, everyone here knows that I have a “Beckett clause” in my contract here that reads “all Beckett arguments involving Brad should be taken with a grain of salt, as he views the man as the greatest baseball player of all time”. :)

    Brad November 17, 2008, 1:49 pm
  • Brad, last off-season you were screaming for Theo to acquire Johan IIRC.
    Johan Santana over the last 5 years: 1145 IP
    CC Sabathia over the last 5 years: 1070 IP
    Santana had more arm mileage than Sabathia did. Does a little bit of weight really make all the difference? Sabathia has never had even a whisper of arm problems; Zito did. Their stats may be comparable, but the causes of Zito’s decline just don’t fit with him.

    Atheose November 17, 2008, 1:49 pm
  • But, everyone here knows that I have a “Beckett clause” in my contract here that reads “all Beckett arguments involving Brad should be taken with a grain of salt, as he views the man as the greatest baseball player of all time”. :)
    Haha, that’s like me and Nolan Ryan.

    Atheose November 17, 2008, 1:54 pm
  • Santana had some serious elbow issues at the end of 2007 too, which led him to scrap his slider for the second half of the year. He also had declining stuff.
    Sabathia is better than he ever was. His stuff, his poise, his control, his command, is at an all-time high. He is quite simply the best free agent pitcher in a long, long time. Better than Mussina in 2001. I seriously can’t remember a free agent pitcher better than this since Maddux in ’92.

    AndrewYF November 17, 2008, 2:00 pm
  • >Does a little bit of weight really make all the difference?< I think it did for Bartolo Colon... just sayin.

    dw (sf) November 17, 2008, 2:01 pm
  • Pujols wins the MVP. Good, there is justice in this world… as long as K-Rod doesn’t win the AL one tomorrow.

    Atheose November 17, 2008, 2:02 pm
  • Lugo for Willis? Talk about moving sh*t from one side of the room to the other.
    As for Salty seems like you guys have him penciled in for ’09, but the Rangers want quite a bit in return…

    John - YF November 17, 2008, 2:02 pm
  • “All I’m saying is this: when I look at CC’s body of work, I see Zito. A great lefty, who threw a bunch of innings, was just as good in some seasons as anyone in baseball, and signed a huge contract.”
    Yeah except one guy (Zito) is a soft tosser who relies on deception and timing to get the hitters out. CC is a DEFINITE injury risk, but if you’re the Yankees it’s a risk you have to take. At the risk of sounding douchey it’s just money. If they were trading for him and he had logged all these innings then I would say be very cautious. CC is a horse and he will be a horse until he breaks down. Zito is a soft tosser who uses smoke and mirrors to get batters out.

    John - YF November 17, 2008, 2:05 pm
  • in other news, Pujols has won the NL MVP
    wow

    rz-yf November 17, 2008, 2:07 pm
  • Yes, Atheose. Last season I was screaming for Theo to get Johan. In fact, I’d still love to have Johan, but with the emergence of a legitimate left hander in the rotation, who put up very similar numbers to some of the best pitchers in baseball, it’s much less of a priority.
    Yes, Andrew: CC is definitely the best free agent pitcher to hit the market in quite some time, and I agree with John: the Yankees have absolutely no choice but to take that chance – especially after Hank has declared that he’ll just buy baseball if he has to.

    Brad November 17, 2008, 2:18 pm
  • Oof, I am late to this one, but I have yet to understand how CC’s track record of health is an indication of health risk. I do understand that he is big. But his record is one of health and durability.
    That’s not to say he won’t get hurt. He probably will. And it might be in year four of his 7 year contract. Or year seven. Or year three, or year two, or year one. But the latter situation would be basically a fluke. Isn’t the risk/reward pretty high in favor of the reward, based on his abilities? SFs who would decry a Sabathia signing by the Yankees in terms of “hey, just wait til he’s a $130M albatross around your neck we’re so much better off for not signing him at that money” forget what happened last year and this year with Julio Lugo’s contract restricting the Sox and their World Series chances. I don’t want Sabathia to sign with the Yankees, for any dollars. I want him to reward the Brewers and stay.
    Fat chance. No pun intended.

    SF November 17, 2008, 4:40 pm
  • how has CC’s wang-esq postseason performances not factored into this discussion? you can easily put a dollar value on a regular season stud, but postseason performers are priceless. to stick to the comp, i’ll take zito every time over CC in the postseason.

    sf rod November 17, 2008, 4:44 pm
  • I have a no idea why people think that Sabathia’s pear-shape automatically means he is a health risk more than any other player. Where is the evidence? “Just wait, you’ll see…” c’mon. There are so many players whose physique cuts a fine jib that turn out to be wrecks.
    > i’ll take zito every time over CC in the postseason
    What? Really? Which of these two, at this time, do you think gives your team a better chance to get to the post in the first place? You have to dance with who brung ya.

    attackgerbil November 17, 2008, 4:57 pm
  • I don’t think CC’s weight is the issue, it’s his over use. When I was a subscriber of Baseball HQ, Shandler was flagging him as an injury risk even back then. I am not saying his weight helps, but the major concern for me at least is his the wear and tear on his arm.

    John - YF November 17, 2008, 5:00 pm
  • Zito’s numbers are much better than Sabathia’s, not even close…Problem with that statement is Zito hasn’t been effective since the last time he pitched in the post season…2006! He has been awful since then. So if we could have Zito circa 2000-2006, sign me up! I don’t know about you but my time machine is not yet operable.

    John - YF November 17, 2008, 5:08 pm
  • > was flagging him as an injury risk even back then
    And he continues to disappoint.

    attackgerbil November 17, 2008, 5:27 pm
  • Here we go again with the post-season performer argument. The fact of the matter is that the values we see for stats in the post-season are a small/tiny sample. Basing a decision to sign any player based on what they have done in a handful of innings or AB in the month of October regardless or their performance in April-September is madness. Would those saying that the yankees shouldnt sign CC based on his post-season record also advocate non-tendering Ellsbury and Pedroia both of which hit around .260 in their careers in the post-season? Dump Beckett because he had near 9.00 ERA this post-season? (Sure he dominated before but so did A-Rod at one point)
    Thankfully the GMs understand they must build the best team they can and once you make it to the post-season take your best shot that a few guys get hot and play to their best ability.

    Sam-YF November 17, 2008, 5:41 pm
  • When I was a subscriber of Baseball HQ, Shandler was flagging him as an injury risk even back then
    Shandler will eventually be proven correct. But the longer it goes, the less correct he will have been proven, if that makes any sense.
    Just as the “Dow 30,000!” guy will probably be correct at some point, too. It just might be in the year 2256, when our currency system is based on something called the “snork”, adapted from the invading alien beings who took over our planet.

    SF November 17, 2008, 5:43 pm
  • Basing a decision to sign any player based on what they have done in a handful of innings or AB in the month of October regardless or their performance in April-September is madness
    Not necessarily true. For the last 20 years I have continually blown my “the Sox would be FOOLS to bring back Schiraldi!” horn, and I am continually proven correct, year after year. Year 21 won’t be any different!

    SF November 17, 2008, 5:45 pm
  • Fair enough SF!

    Sam-YF November 17, 2008, 5:56 pm
  • “It just might be in the year 2256, when our currency system is based on something called the “snork”, adapted from the invading alien beings who took over our planet.”
    And to think, the Kansas City Royals will be the elite big market franchise, able to sign players without thought as if snork grows on trees! Snork, of course, will not be a substance. No, snork will come in hologram form.
    Oh, Calvin Schiraldi XVIII will be the closer for the Sox then. And yes, SF will be proven right. Small sample size be damned. Schiraldi blow three games in the world series against the Toledo Nano-wires.

    Nick-YF November 17, 2008, 7:11 pm
  • Like John, I think Sabathia’s workload is the principal concern. Historically, pitchers who threw as often as he has at his age do not fare well going forward. Of course, there are those few, and they are all in the Hall of Fame.
    Specifically, I’d have alarm bells ringing over the way the Brewers used him this season. Wasn’t it FOUR straight starts on three days rest? (Might have been three). Even given a large workload, at least Sabathia was used smartly. I’d be seriously concerned about that workload catching up to him sooner, rather than later.
    On top of that, there is the weight. And while fat guys from Babe Ruth to David Wells have had varying degrees of success in baseball (and skinny guys like Pedro Martinez have had chronic shoulder problems), I think everyone would agree you would like your starter to be in good shape, as opposed to bad shape. Sabtahia’s not in good shape.
    Don’t get me wrong. If the Sox came out of nowhere and signed him, I’d be thrilled, but I’d have far more reservations than I would have had last year about Santana.

    Paul SF November 17, 2008, 7:17 pm
  • Even given a large workload, at least Sabathia was used smartly. I’d be seriously concerned about that workload catching up to him sooner, rather than later.
    Not a well-written sentence. Even given a large workload entering last season, at least Sabathia seemed to be used smartly (i.e. consistently). I’d be seriously concerned about the ultra-high-stress workload he endured at the end of 2008 catching up to him.
    Although I think playoff performance is largely just noise, I do wonder whether his struggles indicate Sabathia has issues with wearing down because of his high workloads in 2007 and 2008, and what that portends for the future, especially given the furious pace at which he was sent out there at the end of the season.

    Paul SF November 17, 2008, 7:22 pm
  • “Don’t get me wrong. If the Sox came out of nowhere and signed him, I’d be thrilled, but I’d have far more reservations than I would have had last year about Santana.”
    Definitely agree with this, but that probably speaks more to Johan’s insane athleticism and pitching form then to Sabathia’s chances at breaking down.

    Nick-YF November 17, 2008, 7:23 pm
  • The only reason I prefer CC this year over Johan last year is the lack of additional prospects to sign him. Its been said many times but paying twice for a guy just seems like bad business to me. The yanks taking a shot at CC is the right move this year, regardless of what did and did not happen last year.

    Sam-YF November 17, 2008, 7:31 pm
  • > Sabathia’s workload is the principal concern
    This is so upside down that I find it ludicrous. The whole reason why he is attractive to everyone is the fact that he has proven himself a monster year after year, yet he is unattractive because he has done so much to prove himself year after year? Come on. This is tracking the “boats are safe in the harbor but that’s not what a boat is for” metaphor.
    Sabathia is durable until he isn’t. Speculation about what he “should” be is just a waste of time, because in the mean time he has been what he is. “Looking for a hair in a ball of dough” is the phrase that comes to mind.

    attackgerbil November 17, 2008, 10:04 pm
  • Until roughly mid August, I had no problems with Sabathia’s workload — a bit high, but obviously he could handle it.
    Horse or not, we simply do not know how his usage down the stretch on top of his regularly high usage will affect him. It might hurt him, might not. To act like it’s not a concern is also ludicrous.

    Paul SF November 17, 2008, 10:21 pm
  • Agree, Gerb. It’s like with the kids who haven’t thrown innings, they need to be stretched out so they can throw innings, but if they aren’t ever allowed to stretch out they can’t stretch out enough to give comfort in their being stretched out. Sabathia has thrown a lot of innings, hence he’s a horse, but trapped by his horse-ness.
    Which is preferable, a guy who has thrown a lot of innings over and over at a reasonably young age who has proven durable or a guy without a lot of mileage on him who is going to be relied on for a lot of miles?

    SF November 17, 2008, 10:24 pm
  • To act like it’s not a concern is also ludicrous.
    It’s a concern for any pitcher, and in particular for any pitcher that is being signed to an enormous contract. For me the issue is the “he’s a proven horse with a lot of innings, therefore he’s an injury risk” view versus the “he’s a proven horse with a lot of innings, therefore he’s a proven horse” view. I think the latter is more pertinent, while I do understand the former. I just find the former to be predicting an inevitability, and not much of a prediction.
    Dow 30,000!

    SF November 17, 2008, 10:37 pm
  • “It’s a concern for any pitcher”
    This couldnt be truer. I havent seen much about the concern for Lester who through 230+ IP this season, which represents a huge jump from previous years. DiceK threw 225 innings in 2007 and it was evidence of his “durability” not a concern about the possibility of him breaking down. HIs shoulder injury in ’08 should show it can happen to any one. CC could get hurt or he may not. His chances of spending some time on the DL are relatively high simply because he is a pitcher. Regardless of all of this, his track record make him more reliable than say Ben Sheets who has actually missed a significant amount of time due to injury…

    Sam-YF November 17, 2008, 11:57 pm
  • We can whitewash this as being an “all pitchers are injury risks” issue all we want to. The fact remains that pitchers who throw as much as Sabathia has at such a young age as Sabathia has overwhelmingly do not have long careers.
    Based on his 10 most comparable pitchers, BR projects Sabathia to last just six more seasons, winning just 68 more games. Now there’s all sorts of problems with that, but for every Greg Maddux (1700 innings through age 27, 3300 after), there’s a dozen Alex Fernandezes (1600 innings through age 27, 193.1 after). That’s not a forecast for Sabathia being injured next year, but when you add the ridiculous way he was used at the end of 2008, I think the concern exists that Sabathia will be injured sooner rather than later, and is at a higher risk for it than your average pitcher.
    And for the record, you can count me concerned about Lester’s jump in innings last year, and we heard plenty of concern about Matsuzaka’s workload and injury risk when he came over from Japan, so there’s not the difference in perception you seem to be implying here, Sam.

    Paul SF November 18, 2008, 9:28 am
  • I don’t think anything you say is unreasonable, Paul. I totally get it. But I am still a bit befuddled by the contradictory nature of the Sabathia discussion. Those who say he has thrown a bunch of innings sometimes ignore the proven durability and instead see wear and tear, miles already driven as opposed to a track record of strength.
    There’s the standard mutual fund disclaimer of “past peformance yada yada yada”, and I fully expect Sabathia to get hurt. I just have no clue when it will be. Sabathia’s contract is likely insurable, to a degree, based on his performance (though an actuary would probably look at your post and increase the cost of the policy). If he’s in pinstripes for the next few years I won’t be that happy about it.

    SF November 18, 2008, 9:59 am
  • SF, I don’t think anyone is ignoring his durability. I said earlier he’s a horse and will be a horse until he can’t be a horse any longer. The problem is he has thrown a ton of innings and recently a ton of innings on rest that is not considered normal. I want CC on the Yankees, I need CC on the Yankees, don’t get me wrong. I just would not be shocked if down the road he encountered some arm issues. But with that said what pitcher isn’t at risk to arm issues. Definitely not a reason NOT to sign him, but still something to talk about.

    John - YF November 18, 2008, 10:21 am
  • Paul-
    My intention wasnt to simply whitewash the discussion with my statement that “all pitchers get hurt”. This statement simply reflects my outlook on pitchers in general. It is difficult to name more than a handful of pitchers in the past few decades who experienced no arm problems at all at some point in their career. For me, It ultimately boils down to the timing, severity, and duration of the injury that a pitcher will experience. As far as I know, this is essentially impossible to predict with any degree of certainty. Id imagine that the Yankees and any other team would do their best due diligence by looking at a pitchers mechanics and medical history before committing to a large long-term contract. Ultimately though, any contract will be a calculated risk. In the case of CC, this is a risk the Yankees essentially must take unless there are injury red flags that we dont know about. I understand the points you make and would have been happier to see the Brewers stick CC in the ‘pen last year if we end up with him.
    I am glad that you acknowledge Lester’s innings increase and didnt doubt that you would. That said, I cant remember reading about this issue at all here or elsewhere. Despite DiceK’s prior history Im sure that you felt that his signing was a great move for the sox at the time and I feel that CC is a similar case this go around for the yankees.

    Sam-YF November 18, 2008, 10:43 am
  • Despite DiceK’s prior history Im sure that you felt that his signing was a great move for the sox at the time and I feel that CC is a similar case this go around for the yankees.
    I think we’ve reached consensus on this issue.

    Paul SF November 18, 2008, 10:54 am

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