There were a lot of teams scrambling for starting pitching at the beginning of the off season. Heck, there are a lot of teams still in need of rotation help. It's not like there weren't arms out there. But there was a lot of risk involved. And there is an old saying that goes, "No risk, no reward." The phrase is used in golf with holes being considered good "risk-reward" holes. In other words, taking a risk can reap big rewards. It is acknowledged that such a risk could also mean sending a golf ball out of bounds. But when it works out, boy is it sweet.
Somebody who took a risk this off season is going to be smiling broadly. Certainly, one of the owners of the Chris Capuano, Brandon Webb, Jeff Francis and John Maine are going to be pretty pleased with themselves. What got the Fan to thinking about this was this piece on ESPN.com. In the piece, Ron Washington, manager of the Rangers is quoted as saying, "Wow!" to the way Brandon Webb was throwing. The Rangers understood the risk and other teams are going to look pretty silly if Webb has a very good season.
Earlier reports said that Capuano was throwing really well for the Mets in early camp. Capuano's velocity notched up a bit at the end of last year and he would have been a risk worth taking. Only the Mets saw the possible reward. Jeff Francis and Chris Young were out there but they had injury rap sheets that were too long. But you know, one of those guys is going to have a good year. You can book it.
Has such a risk blown up in people's faces before? Sure. Just ask the Mariners about Bedard. But seasons can be won or lost with just a few wins swung from the loss column. A team that wins 80 games could have won 85 or 86 with just the right risk-reward signing. A lot of divisions are going to swing pretty close to 86 wins. The NL West, Central and the AL Central division winner may have such a win total. In the AL East, where three teams are beating their brains in for the 92 to 95 wins it will take to win that division, could have had a three game swing if the right risk had been taken.
And yes, I am talking to you, Yankees. Any of those pitchers mentioned in this post so far were better risk-reward guys than Garcia, Colon and Mitre. So why wouldn't you pull the trigger? The Fan is impressed by the Texas Rangers. They are shooting from the hip and taking those risks. And you know what? Brandon Webb, if he can get healthy enough to pitch this season, will be better than any of the Garcias, Colons or Mitres you want to put out there.
Of course, the Yankees don't appear to be risk takers any more. Such high stakes have ground them into inertia. If the Yankees were adept at risks, one of those guys would have been signed. If the Yankees were adept at the calculated risky deal, one of the trio of stud minor league pitchers in their present camp would go north with them. But they won't.
Sometimes it's much easier to turn a small craft than a Titanic. But a wise man once told the Fan that faith was like the rudder of a ship, it's useless and doesn't work unless you are moving forward. The same can be said about taking a good risk that can lead to a high reward.
Wishing you a big season, Misters Webb, Capuano, Francis, Young and Maine.