Posts Tagged ‘Mike Moore’

Cardinals Face Franchise Defining Offseason

October 13, 2009

Every year, whether a team won 90-plus games like the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim or a team’s season ended in April like the Washington Nationals, every team faces major offseason decisions.

Some decisions are solely made for the next season and some decisions can shape the course of the franchise for a years to come. Decisions can be made by trades, arbitration, and of course, free agency.

For the St. Louis Cardinals, they face an offseason of free agency that will define the course of their franchise for years to come.

The Cardinals have a myriad of impending free agents, including Matt Holliday, Joel Pineiro, Mark DeRosa, Rick Ankiel, Troy Glaus, John Smoltz, Khalil Greene, and Todd Wellemeyer.

However, the most important free agent for the Cardinals is manager Tony LaRussa. LaRussa’s contract is up at the end of the month and if LaRussa doesn’t come back, it could set the Cardinals’ franchise back for years to come.

LaRussa is a free agent

LaRussa is a free agent at the end of the month

LaRussa gives the Cardinals credibility and credibility usually means winning. When players come to play for LaRussa, they know they are in a winning environment. Top players always want to play for him (unless your name is Scott Rolen).

Just think about the course of events if LaRussa leaves.

If LaRussa leaves, then pitching coach Dave Duncan leaves. Duncan is just as important to the Cardinals’ success as LaRussa. Duncan, time and time again is able to take mediocre pitchers and turn them into winners.

Dave Stewart, Bob Welch, Mike Moore, Dennis Eckersly, Jeff Suppan, and Chris Carpenter all had their careers turned around by Duncan.

That allows the Cardinals to spend their resources on offensive players such as Larry Walker, Jim Edmonds, Matt Holliday, Mark DeRosa, and Albert Pujols.

Speaking of Pujols.

If LaRussa leaves at the end of the month, it could very possibly mean Pujols could leave after the 2010 season. Pujols is a free agent at the end of the 2010 season and I would say right now there is an 85 percent chance he stays with the Cardinals.

If LaRussa leaves, then I would say that percentage goes down to 25. Pujols has only played for LaRussa in his career and has said that all he wants is for the Cardinals to put a competitive team on the field year after year. Pujols knows every year his teams have a chance of competing with LaRussa at the helm.

Do you think he is going to take a home-town discount playing for Eric Wedge (I am just throwing his name out there. He is not rumored to be going to the Cardinals if LaRussa leaves) or some second rate manager?

That is why LaRussa coming back is so important. Him leaving sets off a chain of events that could set the Cardinals into rebuilding mode after the 2010 season.

According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, team chairman Bill DeWitt Jr., GM John Mozeliak, LaRussa met for two hours yesterday reviewing the season.

It will be interesting to see what happens with LaRussa. If I was a betting man, I would put my money on LaRussa coming back and signing a new deal with the Cardinals.

The Cardinals just wouldn’t be the same without him.

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Teams Should Stay Away From Joel Pineiro This Offseason

September 17, 2009

St. Louis Cardinals Pitching Coach Dave Duncan is one of the best pitching coaches in the game. As a matter of fact, he might go down as one of the best pitching coaches of all-time. Duncan has taken the term “One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure” to the extreme.

From Dave Stewart to Mike Moore to Chris Carpenter, Duncan has taken mediocre pitchers and transformed them into quality major-league starters. Duncan’s latest rags to riches story — Joel Pineiro.

Pineiro is not worth the investment

Pineiro is not worth the investment

Many forget that Pineiro was an up and coming stud with the Seattle Mariners back in the early 2000’s. In 2002 and 2003, Pineiro went a combined 30-18 with a 3.52 ERA. He looked like one of the rising pitchers in the game.

In 2004, Pineiro was shut down 21 starts into the season with a sore elbow and hasn’t been the same since. Quite frankly, since his 16-win 2003 season — he has stunk.

From 2003-2008, Pineiro’s record was 35-47. Very Jeff Weaver-like. However, Pineiro’s 2009 season has been a different story. Pineiro is 14-11 with a very respectable 3.31 and even has three complete games and two shutouts.

Pineiro’s story is all too familiar. Mediocre pitcher who finds success in his free agent year. Sounds a lot like Jeff Suppan, Jeff Weaver, and Kyle Lohse’s story to me.

Lohse’s story is most similar to Pineiro’s. Lohse had two good seasons with the Minnesota Twins in 2002 and 2003. In those two seasons he went 27-19. From 2003-2007, Lohse went 32-48 and was just an awful pitcher.

Sound Familiar?

In 2008, Lohse went an amazing 15-7 with an ERA of 3.78. Lohse parlayed that season into a four-year, $41 million contract from the Cardinals. Cha ching!

I can’t believe the Cardinals, a seemingly smart organization fell for it. How quickly do you think Lohse signed that contract? Two seconds tops.

Guess what Lohse is doing this year? That’s right, he’s back to same awful pitcher we have known to grow to love. He is a Lohsian 5-8 with a 4.78 ERA. That a boy Kyle. I always knew you had it in you again.

Ironically, Pineiro is looking for a contract similar to Lohse’s this offseason. We all know what is going to happen. Some idiotic team is going to give him a three-year, $28 million contract and guess what is going to happen?

In his first year Pineiro is going to go 9-12 with a 4.65 ERA and his contract is going to hamstring that team for the next three years. It’s inevitable.

That’s why if I was a GM, I would stay away from Pineiro in the offseason.

I don’t need to see advanced statistics or anyother stats for that matter. I will just use the “eye test” on this one. And the eye test tells me, once a mediocre pitcher, always a mediocre pitcher.

One year doesn’t change that.

Odds Are Against Strasburg….

April 15, 2009
The 2009 MLB Draft is just 2 and a half months away and the Washington Nationals are on the clock. By all accounts the Nationals will take San Diego State RHP Stephen Strasburg with the first pick. Strasburghas been called by Keith Law and others as the best pitching prospect in the last 10 years and could pitch in the majors today. As Rob Neyer so effectively pointed out, we have heard this before. We heard this about Mark Prior, we heard this about Ben McDonald andwe heard this withDavid Clyde. Trying to figure out if a 18 or 20 year old kid who faces batters not on his level 99% of the time can get out major league batters is the greatest inexact science in sports. That, coupled with the fact that a pitcher’s arm is the most fragile body part in all of sports makes trying to scout an NFL QB look easy. I don’t want to come across as I am wishing bad things on Strasburg, I am not. I hope he does well because young, star pitchers are good for the game. However, as you will see, the odds are not in Strasburg’s favor.

First, let’s look at all the pitchers who were taken with the #1 overall pick in the draft since 1965 and their stats. Please note that I have not counted the stats for David Price (#1 pick in 07) and Luke Hochevar (#1 pick in 06) because it is too early to give them a complete evaluation.

2007 – David Price

2006– Luke Hochevar

2002– Bryan Bullington, 9 G 0-5 5.45 era

1997 – Matt Anderson, 257 G 15-7 51.9 era 26 saves

1996 – Kris Benson, 196 G 68-74 4.37 era

1994 – Paul Wilson, 170 G 40-58 4.86 era

1991 – Brien Taylor, Never Pitched in Majors

1989 – Ben McDonald, 211 G 78-70 3.91 era

1988– Andy Benes, 403 G 155-139 3.97 era 1 save

1983– Tim Belcher, 394 G 146-140 4.16 era 5 saves

1981 – Mike Moore, 450 G 161-176 4.39 era 2 saves

1976 – Floyd Bannister, 431 G 134-143 4.06 era

1973 – David Clyde, 84 G 18-33 4.63 era

All of the above 11 pitchers were can’t miss pitching prospects who were worthy of the #1 pick (Well, maybe not Bryan Bullington but that is for a whole other post). And for all of their talents all these pitchers could do is combine for an average era of 4.63, a lifetime average record of 74-85 and appear in a total of 3 All Star games. The best pitcher on this list was probably Andy Benes. Benes was a solid #2 for most of his career and finished 3rd in the Cy Young voting in 96. If you are a Nationals fan are you happy with an Andy Benes?

Stephen Strasburg

Stephen Strasburg

Ok, you might be saying that some of these pitchers were taken 1st because of maybe the best talent in the draft was not signable or they were the #1 pick because it was a weak draft. That’s fine and I agree that might be a factor. So let’s expand shall we? Let’s take a look at all the pitchers taken in the top 5 from 1995-2005. I think 10 years is a fair sample size.

1995

#4 Kerry Wood, 77-61 3.65 era 34 saves

#5 Ariel Prieto, 15-24 4.85 era

1996

#1 Kris Benson, 68-74 4.37 era

#3 Braden Looper, 58-58 3.92 era 103 saves

#4 Billy Koch, 29-25 3.89 era 163 saves

#5 John Patterson, 18-25 4.32 era 1 saves

1997

#1 Matt Anderson, 15-7 51.9 era 26 saves

#4 Jason Grilli, 16-16 4.64 era 15 saves

1998

#2 Mark Mulder, 103-60 4.18 era

#4 Jeff Austin, 2-3 6.75 era

1999

#2 Josh Beckett, 90-63 3.77 era

2000

#2 Adam Johnson, 1-3 10.25 era

#4 Mike Stodolka, Never Pitched in Majors

#5 Justin Wayne, 5-8 6.13 era

2001

#2 Mark Prior, 42-29 3.51 era

#3 Dewon Brazelton, 8-25 6.38 era

#4 Gavin Floyd, 26-19 5.01 era

2002

#1 Bryan Bullington, 0-5 5.45 era

#3 Chris Gruler, Never Pitched in Majors

#4 Adam Loewen, 8-8 5.38 era

#5 Clint Everts, Never Pitched in Majors

2003

#3 Kyle Sleeth, Never Pitched in Majors

#4 Tim Stauffer, 4-7 6.37

2004

#2 Justin Verlander, 46-35 4.18 era

#3 Phil Humber, 0-0 5.79 era

#4 Jeff Niemann, 2-3 6.33 era

#5 Mark Rogers, Never Pitched in Majors

2005

No Pitchers Taken In Top 5

The outlook for Strasburg looks a little brighter. I think every Nationals fan or any fan would take a Josh Beckett type on their staff right now. However, out of those 27 pitchers only 1 in my mind turned out to be worthy of their #5 pick status. That would be Beckett. Mulder was on his way to being a great one but arm injuries derailed his career, the jury is still out on Verlander and sorry Cubs fans, Wood’s 7.7 wins a year over 10 years really is not that impressive. If you are a Nationals fan would you be happy with just getting 6 years out of Strasburg but was a Mulder like 97-50 in those first 6 years? Or do you believe “the best pitching prospect ever” should give you more than 6 years? Interesting debate.

I always believed that a team should draft the best position player available andthen find pitchers later in the draft because position players are usually easier to predict that pitchers. At least if I am drafting a position player #1, I can reference Alex Rodriguez (#1 in 93), Joe Mauer (#1 in 01), Ken Griffey Jr (#1 in 87) and Chipper Jones (#1 in 90). All of which are superstars. Plus, there is a lot of evidence to suggest that you can find top pitching in later rounds. Let’s take a look at some of the top pitchers from the last 20 years and see where they were drafted….

1. John Smoltz – 22nd Round

2. Tom Glavine – 2nd Round

3. Greg Maddux – 2nd Round

4. Randy Johnson – 2nd Round

5. Roy Halladay – 1st Round #17 overall

6. Andy Pettitte – Amatuer Free Agent

7. David Cone – 3rd Round

8. Curt Schilling – 2nd Round

9. Johan Santana – Amateur Free Agent

10. Mariano Rivera – Amateur Free Agent

11. Mike Mussina- 1st Round #20 overall

12. Pedro Martinez – Amateur Free Agent

13. Roy Oswalt- 23rd Round

14. Jake Peavy – 15th Round

15. Jaime Moyer – 6th Round

16. Orel Hershiser – 17th Round

17. Tim Hudson – 6th Round

18. Dwight Gooden- 1st Round #5 overall

19. Roger Clemens – 1st Round #19 overall

20. Dennis Eckersley – 3rd Round

So as you can see, this is a pretty talented group and only Gooden was picked within the top 5. Again, I hope Strasburg does well, but the odds of him being a great major league pitcher are certainly not in his favor.

On a side note, as I was doing the research for this post I realized that the Royals might be one of the worst drafting franchises ever. Take a look at their 1st round picks fom 1992-2001. Just brutal