Friday, July 07, 2006

For All You Bored Suckaz At Work

It's Friday at roughly 3:00 p.m., leaving a mere two hours until the weekend. This weekend is especially sweet because it comes off the heels of a three-day workweek. However, doom looms Sunday afternoon; after the 27th out is recorded, we have no Yankees baseball for ::gasp:: FOUR DAYS!

What the hell am I going to do with myself? My bread and butter is sitting down at the computer, running Win Expectancy situations through a computer program, and posting my thoughts here on the Sporting Brews.

Talk trade rumor. That's what I'm going to do. I'll get to it after the jump.

[MORE]Word began spreading today about an impending Shawn Chacon for Joel Piniero trade. If this was MVP Baseball 2004 (or even 2005), this would be a superb trade. However, this is real life, and Joel kinda sorta stinks. Bonus: so does Chacon!

I had e-mailed Jeff of Lookout Landing a month back to get an Ms fan's perspective on Joel's availability and price tag.

Joel would come very, very cheap. At this point I have
difficulty imagining a scenario in which Bavasi
wouldn't just give him away - it's the last year of
his contract, he stinks, and there are more intriguing
options available in AAA. The only reason we haven't
seen Bobby Livingston or Francisco Cruceta get a start
in the Major Leagues is because there hasn't been
space in the rotation. Dealing Pineiro makes space
while also almost certainly making the Mariners a
better team.

Because he has a "proven track record" and should be a
reasonably hot commodity around deadline time, Joel
will probably cost someone a decent prospect - for the
Yankees, maybe a Darrell Rasner or Matt DeSalvo. More
than he's worth, since Joel blows, but not something
that you'll regret five years down the road.

Obviously, Jeff hasn't been keeping up with Mr. DeSalvo, but you get the point. I'd mention something about Gator and Kerrigan working Piniero into a serviceable starter, but it appears they didn't do such a hot job with Chacon. Then again, J-Wriggidy has been surprisingly effective some of the time this season. What this proves, I guess, is that we can't accurately measure the pitching coach's effect on a particular player.

There are two ways of looking at this. First is that Chacon is worthless – a fair assessment at this point – and gaining a 27-year-old who has shown flashes (though not many recently) would at worst be a push and at best be a repeat of Chacon's own situation from last year. The other way to view it is that Chacon has been pitching on an inconsistent basis since returning from the DL, and that he may be able to work out his control problems.

Unfortunately for Chacon, there is a distinct counterargument here. He has always, always, always walked too many batters. Even last year during his magical run, he walked 3.41 per nine, which just won't translate into consistent success. He walked at an even greater rate – 3.81 per nine – in 2003, that season where he went 11-0 and made the All-Star team, followed by an 0-8 record after the break, capped off with a season-ending DL stint. Worse yet, he walked – get this – 7.40 per nine over the course of his lone season in the bullpen, a season in which he had a K/BB ratio of exactly 1.00. So his move to the bullpen may not be the best remedy here.
For the best perspective, I point to his 4.61 BB/9 career mark. I just pointed out two seasons in which he fell below that mark, so you can only imagine the rest of his career. And if you think that 7.40 mark in 2004 inflated his numbers, you're wrong. He pitched only 63.1 innings that year, half of what he pitched in his shortest season as a starter.

Joel? His career BB/9 is a much more manageable 2.56. His career K/9 is 6.19, leaving his K/BB ratio at – I'll wait for you to punch the numbers into the calculator stored in your front pocket – 2.17. Unfortunately, these peripherals are loaded up with pre-2005 numbers, the year that Joel took a header into the shallow end. This year, he's walking 3.21 per nine, which plain scares the shit out of me. The last thing the Yanks need is a guy who issues free passes. We've had too many of them and have fallen victim too many times to let it happen again. But then there's the issue of Chacon being that much worse in the walk department, and you figure you're better off taking on a reclamation project (Joe Kerrigan's forte) than sticking with the guy proven to let men on base for free.

But with Kris Wilson as Sunday's scheduled starter, I don't see this discussion really heating up until after the break. I mean, you want to make sure Chacon is going to be of no use to you before shipping him off, so why not give him a few mop-up innings out of the bullpen this weekend? That is, if there's a mop-up situation.

Wilson v2006 = Small v2005
Piniero v2006 = Chacon v2005

If only it was that simple...