Big Fish “I’m Feeling Lucky” Lucchino sends GM Ben to find a “whale of a starter” among the goldfish

 

Instead of casting off in quest of a Big Fish, a top tier FA pitcher, to slide into the #4 slot in the rotation behind Lester, Beckett, and Bucholz, sport fisherman and Red Sox President “I’m Feelin’ Lucky” Lucchino  has sent his First Mate, Ben out to the pet store in the mall to buy a water-filled plastic bag full of common goldfish, in hopes that one might survive. “Besides,” Mr. “I’m Feelin’ Lucky” Lucchino, [still basking in the glow of his Princeton team mate Bill Bradley] muses confidently: “I already have [dicey] Dice-K Matsuzaka and Clay The Pen Bard in the freezer….AND my pal Admiral Bobby V at the helm…heh, heh…”

But, down at the fish market, where flounders flop, the Fenway Faithful, who suffered, very slowly, through last season’s September Swoon, when the Red Sox team suddenly beached itself, like a lost, drunken whale on Revere Beach, fret and fidget with their September scorecards and wonder why it wouldn’t be prudent to sign a reliable lefty for the 2012 rotation. Mr. Lucky’s “minor” menu substitution  of fish and chips for lobster just doesn’t pass their smell test.  The wizened, veteran fans know that, “literarily,”  “Nothing shall come of nothing.” And that, conversely, the play’s the thing and they know that ‘Something’s rottin’  in Fen Park.’

They also notice that, oddly, interest in LHP Wandy Rodriguez “seems almost nonexistent…Last month we heard that the Astros seemed willing to absorb some of the $25.5MM left on the left-hander’s contract to facilitate a trade,” reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Houston is angling for a fishing pail full of prospects, but hasn’t had a nibble for Wandy Rod. And, if the market tide has ebbed for this LHP, why isn’t some S. S. Sox seaman testing the waters?

Meanwhile, back at the pet store, the geek in the red jacket has neatly netted three fish for Ben: two righties, Carlos Silva, Jason Germano, and one veteran lefty, Aaron Cook.

Ben presses his nose to the glass and gazes balefully at the remaining suspects in the SALE tanks; the one with righties Brandon Webb, Armando Galarraga, Jon Garland, Rich Harden, Clay Hensley, Livan Hernandez, Joel Pineiro, Bartolo Colon, former Red Sox Brad Penny and Tim Wakefield and the other tank with just three lefties: Jeff Francis, Zach Duke and Wandy Rodriguez.

Buster Olney of ESPN reported yesterday that there is a feeling around baseball that there are good “value buys” to be had on the starting pitching market. For this reason, Cherington and the Sox should be able to find the low-cost arm(s) they covet.

But After-Xmas Uncle Scrooge has given Tiny Ben only  a hundred ha’pennies [@ 50 cents] to spend on his bag of fish, so he may have to choose just two from this suspicious school of fish:

ERA      WHIP     K-W ratio
Webb                  3.27          1.24            2.45
Galarraga          4.69          1.38             1.58
Garland             4.32           1.38             1.61
Harden              3.76            1.30            2.25
Hensley              3.94            1.23            2.08
L. Hernandez   4.39            1.44             1.84
Penny                  4.23            1.36            2.09
Piniero                4.41             1.35            2.17
B. Colon              4.09            1.33            2.32
Wakefield           4.41             1.35            1.79

Rodriguez       4.07           1.35           2.38
Francis                 4.78            1.43            2.13
Duke                      4.56           1.49            1.90

Brandon Webb finishes first in the RHP pod and Wandy Rodriguez leads the LHP group in the above list.

Here are the stats for Boston’s three recently signed RHPs:

ERA     WHIP    K-W ratio
Cook                   4.53      1.47        1.37
Germano            5.02     1.39        1.84
Silva                    4.68     1.40        2.33

Trying to determine the best of the signed RHPs is not easy. Cook has the ERA edge, but his WHIP is the highest and K-W ration is way below the 2.00 bar (or two Ks per W). Silva finishes a close second in ERA to Cook, about ties Germano for second in WHIP, but has a substantial lead over the other two with a 2.33 K-W ratio, striking out two and a third batters for every walk issued. Germano barely squeaks the WHIP lead, finishes second in K-W ration to Silva, but has a much higher ERA.

[Cook is the prototypical groundball pitcher and his career groundball rate stands at 57 percent, which ranks 8th for pitchers from 2002-2011. The veteran right-hander can also request his release if not on the 25-man roster on May 1 and again on June 1.]

But, toss the far superior Webb into the mix and you’ve got a “different kettle of fish.”

                           ERA     WHIP    K-W ratio
Cook                   4.53      1.47        1.37
Germano            5.02     1.39        1.84
Silva                    4.68     1.40        2.33

Webb                  3.27      1.24        2.45

But, if adding a second LHP to the rotation is a priority, “Magic” Wandy Rodriguez is the clear choice:

                                     ERA     WHIP    K-W ratio

W. Rodriguez      4.07       1.35        2.38
Francis                       4.78       1.43        2.13
Duke                           4.56       1.49        1.90

But, as with all fishing expeditions, there is a catch, or two: Rodriguez would likely cost more, even if the Astros are willing to absorb some of the $25.5MM left on the left-hander’s contract and Rodriguez is not a FA and the Sox would have to thrown in a prospect or two, or maybe even four.

As mentioned in a previous article, [http://bosoxinjection.com/2012/01/04/q-where-can-cherington-find-a-young-mlb-proven-lefty-starter-for-the-3-slot/] the Astros are in a build-from-scratch mode and need to fill a lot of vacant positions for Opening Day.

Since the Astros have just a “ten-gallon” tank with a few plastic plants [old Astro-Turf shards] stuck into a diamond shape in an inch of sand, awaiting a school of say 25 fish to amuse the Texas crowd, Cherington could offer them a “quantity for quality” deal.

He might even keep his best prospects, [ #1 Middlebrooks [Da New Yook], #3 Anthony Ranaudo [Bard-like heater], #5 Jose Iglesias [Gold Glove SS], #7 Drake Britton, RHP] and fill a bucket with a rusty scupper with 4 prospects from this list:

Lars Anderson, 1b, Rank: 6, ETA: 2011 [on 40-man roster]
Oscar Tejeda, 2b, Rank: 9, Gigantes del Cibao, ETA: 2013 [lacks power, speed, glove]
Kolbrin Vitek, 3b, Rank: 10, Salem Red Sox (A+), ETA: 2013
Bryce Brentz, RF, Rank: 2, Salem Red Sox (A+), ETA: 2013 [RF, 115 Ks/115 G’s]

Felix Doubront, LHP, Rank: 4, Navegantes Magallanes, ETA: 2011 [MLB, 6.10, 1.94]
Stolmy Pimentel, RHP, Rank: 8, Estrellas de Oriente, ETA: 2013 [6.79, 1.61, 65K/39W]

Houston could take the first three, add former Boston SS Jeb Lowrie, and have a complete infield of  former Boston farm products—the Houston “As-Sox” or “Sox-stros,” or “Stro-Sox.”

Or, hope to replace Wandy with LHP Felix Doubront and add another international rotation prospect from the right side, Stolmy Pimentel.

But wait! Perhaps this will all become an irrelevant Hot Stove Fish Tale, when:

*  Lester, Beckett, Bucholz and Bard prove a solid, winning four-man   rotation with an occasional start from Aceves.

*  Melancon effectively sets up the new Boston closer.

*  The new Boston closer, Bailey, racks up 40+ SVs.

Crawford plays back to his career offensive average.

Just add the Red Sox again leading the league in runs scored [875] and avg. runs per game [5.4] and, with a solid Front Four rotation, they run the playoff table and win the 2012 World Series!!!

Now, my fellow citizens of  Red Sox Nation:

I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell,

“I’M FEELIN’ LUCKY !!!”

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Topics: 1B, 2b, 3b, 40-man Roster, Aaron Cook, Anthony Ranaudo, Armando Galarraga, Astros, Bard, Bartolo Colon, Ben Cherington, Brad Penny.Tim Wakefield, Brandon Webb, Bryce Brentz, Carl Crawford, Carlos Silva, Clay Hensley, Drake Britton, Faithful, Felix Doubront, Fenway, Former Red Sox, GM, Gold Glove, Houston, Jason Germano, Jeff Francis, Joel Pineiro, Jon Garland, Jose Iglesias, Kolbrin Vitek, Larry Lucchino, Lars Anderson, LHP, Livan Hernandez, Matsuzaka, Melancon, Middlebrooks, Network, Oscar Tejeda, RF, RHP, Rich Harden, Salem Red Sox, September Swoon, Shakespeare, Stolmy Pimentel, Wandy Rodriguez, Zach Duke

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  • JLFCASH

    I’d love to see us take a chance on two of Webb, Kazmir, Ben Sheets, or Chris Young. If they can somewhat resemble the pitchers they once were it would quite a steal.

  • JLFCASH

    I’d love to see us take a chance on two of Webb, Kazmir, Ben Sheets, or Chris Young. If they can somewhat resemble the pitchers they once were it would quite a steal.