November 2007

Not on the Train

Let’s talk about Pitcher X, whom Cardinals fans seem very enthused about potentially acquiring in trade.

In pitcher X’s four full Major League seasons, he has one year where his ERA was more than 12 percent better than league average. That was 2005. Since then he was steadily less effective in each of the two ensuing seasons.

Pitcher X’s strikeout rate has stayed steady at right around 6.4 per nine innings, which is nice but not spectacular.

Pitcher X’s walk rate, however, has climbed distressingly. It was 2.79 per nine innings his first year, then dropped to an excellent 2.09 his second year. Since then, 3.34 in 2006 and 3.81 in 2007. That’s a red flag, or at least a yellow flag.

Pitcher X will likely get a raise in arbitration over his 6.45MM from 2007, and would be under team control through 2009.

Dontrelle Willis is by all accounts a really good guy. He’s left-handed, and folks seem to want a LHP in the rotation. But I’m of the opinion that it would be a serious mistake to give up a lot of talent to acquire him. The indicators are not good.

-M.

(currently playing: Jay-Z, American Gangster)

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