Just say no

“Just my thoughts, man, right or wrong…”

(i.e., what follows is my opinion, my opinion only, no statement on behalf of anyone else, etc etc etc)

The Cardinals must resist the temptation to use Adam Wainwright in relief. It just doesn’t make sense.

The difference in value between an elite starter and even an excellent reliever is huge. And make no mistake, Wainwright has established himself as not merely a quality starter, but an elite one. You don’t mess with that. You take advantage of it, because there just aren’t many guys who bring what he brings.

Besides, simply by going in the rotation, Wainwright will essentially take the place of one reliever every five days.

When Chris Carpenter returns, it’s clear he’ll take the No. 5 spot, most recently held by Mitchell Boggs. When Wainwright returns, the Cards have three viable options to bump from the rotation: Joel Pineiro, Braden Looper and Todd Wellemeyer. Obviously Kyle Lohse will continue starting.

Pineiro has averaged 5.9 innings per start. Wellemeyer has averaged 5.8. Looper has averaged 5.7. Wainwright? Try 7.05 innings per start. Putting aside effectiveness, the increase in innings makes a difference in itself. Wainwright likely won’t go seven in his first start or two, but assuming he’s recovered, he’ll be up to that level before long.

And there’s also a difference in effectiveness. Wellemeyer in particular has struggled recently. Since he returned from his elbow trouble, he has a 5.51 ERA, has averaged 5.4 innings per start and the Cardinals have gone 1-5. Wellemeyer was outstanding early this year, but it is clear that he hasn’t fully returned to effectiveness since the injury. It’s not unreasonable to think that pitching fewer innings, as a reliever, might benefit him greatly.

Oh, and one other thing: Wainwright doesn’t want to go back to the bullpen. It’s not as though he’d make a big fuss if the move were made, but you can bet he wouldn’t be happy about it.

-M.

18 Comments

Amen, Matt…the Cards HAVE to return Adam to the rotation. By doing that (and assuming Carp can get back to his dominant self in a few weeks), the Cards can match teams like Chicago and the Brewers when it comes to pitching matchups (Carp, Waino, and Lohse – not in that order)…at least well enough to make the series competative.

We still will need bullpen help, but putting Waino in the pen when we can’t get a start longer than 5 innings makes very little sense.

Okay, Matt…trade rumors need some attention from you today, please????!!!! I keep reading forum posts about Reyes, Duncan, Skip, etc.

Can a brotha get a Amen!? …dang it, Kevin. You beat me to it. Well anyways, I agree with all of that M, but I think what we need most is a reliable closer. I think with that solidified, the other guys will feel comfortable with their roles. Their roles would be more well defined, and therefore the pen will be much improved. I personally don’t trust Wellemeyer out of the pen due to his walks. You just can’t walk guys in late innings, and it’s obvious he doesn’t have command. Now I realize that’s not an argument for him being a starter either, but what other choice do we have. Maybe the more he pitches, the sooner he works it out.

hehe…ya’ snooze, ya’ lose, sean :)

FYI – heard Reyes was traded to the Indians for a AA reliever and cash…I’m VERY curious to see what happens to make room for him on the AA roster in Springfield…guessing Jess Todd is either traded or promoted (most likely the latter and to AAA)…which could bring up questions on the AAA roster…like who goes to make room for Todd? or is it necessary because we have 2 rehabbing guys that may not count against the roster right now (Barton/Carp)…or does it mean a AAA pitcher is going to be traded/promoted???

VERY interesting this weekend….

i agree 100% matt… wainwright was awesome as the closer in 2006..but as you pointed out he goes deep in games.. much more so than wellemeyer or looper or pineiro…he didn’t sign a deal to be a reliever ..signed it to be a starter, and a good one at that..wouldn’t be fair for him either, he’s a team player and he would do it if he had to, but it wouldn’t be the right decision

Anthony Reyes was traded for a minor league reliever who has spent very little time at the AA level. The cash that came in the deal is of little significance. I was hoping Reyes would bring more, perhaps packaged with others. It looks like the Cards are going to hold tight to all their minor league prospects for a while, banking on the future.

Either it’s another meaningless move or we are preparing for a bigger move….

It’s mostly a favor to Anthony, and acting while they still felt they could get something of value for him.
-M.

“Wainwright will essentially take the place of one reliever every five days.” True — IF he has the endurance, etc., to come back immediately as a starter. He’s missed enough time that he may not be ready to start again immediately. He’ll be back in that role eventually; don’t panic if he goes to the pen for a while first.

dude…are you watchin’ the game right now? did you watch last night? have you been watching Wellemeyer the last several outings?

we need Waino in the rotation…

And let me add…at this point, endurance does not matter.

60 pitches from Carp and Waino is better than what we’re currently getting from 3 of our starters for six innings right now.

Are we even getting 6 innings consistently from 3 of our starters now?

Hear, hear, Dude.

Wainwright’s endurance really hasn’t been a concern. His arm is still strong and he was able to work with it for hist time off since it was his finger. It may take him a start or two to get fluid with mechanics and game pace again, but it’s not a major issue at this point.

“It’s not a major issue at this point.” Well, I claim it SHOULDN’T be a major issue at this point. There’s a big difference. Even a single rehab start will speak volumes on this one. And lest I be misunderstood, I desperately hope you’re right.

Well now that we have cut the cancer Reyes and traded him somewhere we can move on….best wishes Anthony I hope you can work with the Indians coaching staff better than you did here.
I am excited about Weds. I think our season might depend on Carp. If I was TLR my Rotation would be:
1. Loshe
2. Wainwright
3. Wellmeyer
4. Peneiro
5. Carpenter
Looper would be sent to the closer or setup role because he has been there and had success in the past.

I do like your rotation dmarcus, but with one disagreement. Keep Boggs and take Wellemeyer out. I think that would be a bit stronger of a rotation. Of course, you guys are forgetting one BIG “?” and I think it’ll be for the good. Mulder coming back next week. The two weeks rest will be up on Friday!!!!! Come one Mark, we need you back!!!!

I also agree with Matt. Wainwright should not go to the pen for all of the reasons given. Mostly if he and Carpenter can step into the rotation and give 7+ innings pretty regularly, then the bull pen problems might start to sort themselves out because they would get more rest. I also pretty much agree with dmarcus’s rotation. Although I’m not sure about Wellemeyer. I think they should leave Looper in the rotation and see if the pen problems do straighten out. If so, problem solved. If not, then move Looper to the closing role and move either Wellemeyer or Boggs to the rotation.

Amen Matt!
I had no clue that th organization was actually thinking about sending Wainy to the bullpen. I assumed it was a no-brainer that Adam would return to the rotation.

Now I am thinking that Adam could have a huge impact on the bullpen by actually being on the rotation. Think about it… If he can pitch 6 to 7 innings every 5 days, that would mean less work for our bullpen. Therefore, better rested bullpen would mean (hopefully) better relief appearances.

Wainy, we miss you man!

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