Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I Have to Think the Alliance is Going to Frown on This

I don't know, I just don't trust this Hector Carrasco. Let me tell you a story. Several years ago, my beloved Grandpa Ray was in danger of losing his farm to evil developers who were going to build a kitten processing plant. If he didn't come up with $50,000 -- and fast! -- the farm where I spent so much of childhood would be gone forever, the bucolic splendor replaced with smokestacks and the stench of melting cat.

Above: Grandpa Ray chats with my infant uncle Lenny. Backdrop: the logo of the cat rendering facility that never was.

Naturally, my friends and family got together and put on a show in the old barn to raise the money. I didn't (don't) have any musical talent, charisma, or the assets needed for burlesque, so I got stuck with the magic portion of the show despite my lack of experience in the field. It went surprisingly well, even if my top hat was made of construction paper -- I pulled a chicken out of that hat, and a goat ate a lady's purse. She thought I'd made it disappear, so I went ahead and took credit. I won't bore with you how a surprise donation from the unexpectedly wealthy town drunk got us the money just before the midnight deadline, because the point is that one glorious night of wonder didn't make me a magician just as five starts don't make Hector Carrasco a good starter.

It could well be that Carrasco will be a good swingman next year, or maybe even a full-time starter. The problem is that everyone knows that possibility exists, and that's going to drive up his price. I like spending money on a sure thing, and this is anything but. How many 35 year old journeymen relievers have turned into effective starters? I love a rags to riches story as much as anyone, but I don't want to bankroll this one. I say take the money Carrasco wants and give it to Esteban Loaiza, who is at least a for-sure starter. Better yet, take Carrasco and Loaiza money and give it to Kenny Rogers, who's actually good and brings with him the intriguing possibility of someone getting his ass kicked.

13 comments:

Basil said...

This time I'm really going to get rich . . . and quick!

Needham's going to have at you for daring to call into question whether Carrasco's late-career emergence is genuine.

Chris Needham said...

Hey, I was only banking on 4 innings and 2 runs a start. You'll take that when the alternative is 2/3 of an inning of John Halama.

I'm still not completely sold on Steve-Lo. His strength is that he doesn't really get bombed. He keeps you in every game, but he also doesn't go out there and win you many either.

El Gran Color Naranja said...

My Dad was a kitten processor! You and your hick family cost him his dream job! I had to go to school wearing nothing but JC Penney USA Olympic merchandise because of you! On a different note, I left you a present in the meat locker of my restaurant. Go in and get it, there is no way you'll be locked in overnight. No way.

If we just improve our offense by 22.22% (replace Vinny and Cristian) I think that would turn Esteban into a consistent winner. I'd rather had the not quite angel I know than rely on Hector to last a season as a starter.

Ryan said...

I've warmed to the idea of paying Estevey because I'm desperate for 200 innings out of someone, and Loaiza is a good bet to do that and cost less than Millwood. The difficulty in talking about Carrasco is that we have idea what kind of money is being discussed. I don't want him to have a million dollars.

Naranja - take it up with Otis the Drunk. I just wanted a place to ride my pony.

Basil said...

I've warmed to the idea of paying Estevey because I'm desperate for 200 innings out of someone, and Loaiza is a good bet to do that

Is he? He's done that twice in an 11-year career.

Of course, he's done 190+ a few more times, but only 4 times (the big year, plus 3 close to league-average seasons, including '05) has he even approached being worthwhile.

E-Lo's a bigtime risk, and any 3-year deal carries the possibility that he'll stink for 2 of them.

Ryan said...

190 is close enough. He's a better pitcher than he was in 2004, he loves RFK, and there's just not that much pitching help out there. I'd like to avoid the third year, but I see him as less of a risk than a lot of the alternatives. Carrasco, for instance.

El Gran Color Naranja said...

Considering the way Robinson likes to treat our young pitchers and how much Bowden likes to trade them, we need someone to go out and give us innings. Both My Boy and Livan battled injuries this year, who knows what they will give in 2006? Even if he reverts to mediocre Esteban, I'd still sign him for 3 years, if that's what he wants.

Basil said...

I guess, Harperanja, but Loaiza's bad seasons have been plentiful and really bad and not really heavy on the innings.

That's the point I was trying to make to Ryan, but I got too hung up on the 200 IP thing, so it looked like I was trying to sound overly facile or something.

El Gran Color Naranja said...

So here are his IP since 1997 (in numerical not chronological order)
120, 151, 171, 183, 190, 196, 199, 217, 226. Maybe not inning heavy but only two of those years in my mind were unacceptable in terms of IP. He should give us 180-190 minimum.

Now suckiness...I don't think he's as bad as you think he is. Since 1999 his park-adjusted ERA+ only dropped under 95 (100 essentially saying you are average for anyone reading this who is not stats fluent) two times. 2002, when he was injured, and his short stint in 2004 with the Yanks. I'd say that chances are that if he has a bad season, this being the NL and a pitchers park, his ERA still be under 4.50.

So worst case scenario in my mind 180 IP, 4.50 ERA. That's not great but I think it's a necessary cog for this or any team. Granted, you'd rather this be your #4 or #5 guy, and maybe with a savvy signing and some luck he would be. And this is worst case.

The more I look at it, the more I don't think it's an option to let Loaiza go, unless he's looking for crazy money.

Ryan said...

so it looked like I was trying to sound overly facile or something.

I was going to say "condescending."

The more I look at it, the more I don't think it's an option to let Loaiza go, unless he's looking for crazy money.

I agree totally. Although I may be overcompensating for calling Loaiza the suckiest suck that ever sucked during the offseason.

Basil said...

I don't know. In an 11-year career, he's had all of four seasons where he's combined 190 IP and a 100 ERA+. Loosen it up to 95 ERA+, and now it's five. That's not a great bet.

Now, I'll grant that two of those seasons are in the last three years, and we certainly need innings, and anyone who can do what he did in '03 certainly can pitch some.

I'm just very, very wary of three years out of E-lo. He's track record isn't nearly as good as his supporters (not here, I mean, but generally) make it seem.

Anonymous said...

How is that kid your uncle?

--TEK

Ryan said...

How is that kid your uncle?

Grandpa Ray was . . . invigorated by the rescue of his farm.