Wednesday, December 01, 2010

So You Need A Starting Pitcher...

De La Rosa is off the market. Westbrook is signed. Kuroda signed. It's a pretty good bet that Pavano will stay with the Twins. Who is left? Well, there's Cliff Lee and Kevin Millwood. Yeesh. That's like choosing between a Mercedes and a Yugo. That's like shopping for a house and only having a mansion and a shack to choose from. Yikes.

So if a team needs starting pitching, what can they do? With a dearth of free agent pitchers, some will need to get creative. There are broken but supposedly near fixed pitchers like Jarrod Washburn and Webb. You can coax Pedro Martinez out of the Dominican. You can find out how Messina is liking retirement. Or...what?

Trading for pitching seems to be the only option left, especially if you don't have anybody ready in the minors. Supposedly Greinke is available. But the Royals will want bucket loads in return. Say so long to your best prospects and at least one every day player. Tampa is a possibility. The Bay Rays might part with Shields and/or Garza if the price is right. Anyone wanting to trade with the Bay Rays will have a little more leverage than the KC/Greinke avenue because the Bay Rays want to clear money from their budget. The Blue Jays might be willing to part with one of their starters for the right price.

But good luck with all of that. Most teams are hording pitching if they have it. The Red Sox stockpile it like rabid survivalists. It's easier to get a gallon of water in Walmart the day before a hurricane than it is to find starting pitchers these days. Perhaps it is time for teams to take a chance with their minor league talent. How many Double and Triple A pitchers are deemed, "not ready," when in reality, they can't be any worse in a rotation than Brian Moehler.

There is a tendancy in baseball to rely on the experienced pitcher. There is a comfort factor with a lot of teams in a guy that's been around for a while. But the reality is that a lot of "experienced" pitchers are bloody awful. How long have the Moehlers and Millwoods been floating around? And yet, somebody will always pick them up and say to its fans: "Moehler is battle tested and has fought the wars for a long time." Yeah, okay, maybe so, but the guy is going into a high tech battle with a pea shooter.

There have to be guys in the high minors that can pitch just as well as Kevin Millwood. There just has to be. There has to be guys down there that have been career minor league players who simply know how to pitch but have never reached the majors. How bad can they do? Plus, they will be a heck of a lot cheaper than Kevin Millwood and might even pitch better.

There is only one Cliff Lee on the market. Just about everything else (besides Pavano, but the Twins will sign him) is Melba toast. Teams will have to scour the earth to find people that can pitch. But this Fan bets they are out there. And judging by the pitching going on for some teams, they can't do any worse.

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