Suckulous – definition (courtesy of my mother the stat geek)
Excluding Roger Clemens, the cesspool of 6 year minor league FA and ML FA unsigned by Groundhog Day. The pool can be divided into three parts:
1) floating cess – leftys. Lefty pitchers who get SOME leftys out (think John Franco 2004, Mark Redmond) and lefty batters good ONLY for pinch hitting, and not real too good at that.
2) middling cess – the Jamey Wrights, because they can throw a ball up there; Neifi Perez – because there is always a Dusty out there…
3) sunk cess – Rafael Palmeiro
So all yall, let’s us all have a cess-ion to look at some of the guys who the Stros are supposedly interested in…
First, Steve Trachsel, who Ken Rosenthal thinks the Astros should sign to show Roger Clemens We Mean Business. No, I’m not kidding. http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/6432888 Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dissing Robothal here, but Roger has got exactly ZERO to do with the Astros budget. Roger money is outside the Astros budget, even if it is counted by MLB budget, because Roger really pays for himself in tickets, publicity and merchandise. The real question is, is Trachsel worth even ML minimum on this roster, let alone 2.5 mill? Now mind you, I’m not holding that playoff game against St. Louis against him – heck, ANYONE can have a bad playoff game, hunh Roger? He’s one of those low K high BB pitchers who somehow succeeds anyway…
So let’s take a look at his career stats (sorry, can’t get it to post)
ERA+ over the past 5 years 116, 112, 107, 101, 87
hmmmmmmmmmmmmm – do I see a trend here???
And may I remind you that he missed most of the 2005 season with a bad back. Yes, I know he went 15-8 for the division winning heavy hitting NY Mets last year. But he started 30 games, pitched ONLY 164 innings (5.1 IP/GS), had 12 of 30 QS and had only 5 QS after the ASB – which were, in fact, the only starts where he lasted at least 6 innings. So OK, he looks like a #5 guy, because I sure wouldn’t put him #4 before Chris Sampson. So the first question is – will he be better than Matt Albers or Fernando Nieve? And the second question is – if he sucks, will he be DFA’d along with whatever is left from his 2.5 mill contract? And the last question is, will signing Trachsel impress Roger Clemens? Sorry, I’m too busy laughing to answer that last question…
Now, on to a couple of homeboy relievers trying to make it back to the bigs – both were OOB last year, both are recovering from a few years of injuries.
Ben Weber, age 36 (just like Trachsel) RHP, born in Port Arthur, went to U of Houston a few years after Woody Williams. Drafted by Toronto in 91, made it to AAA in 95, then as a 6 year guy, was released. Played in the indy league for a year, in Taiwan for 2, then got a job as a 6 year FA with SF in AAA in 99, then got a few, um, unimpressive innings in the ML in 2000 and was released. Was picked up by the Angels and pitched 14 good innings in the bigs, then had 3 outstanding years as a reliever from 01 to 03, winning a WS ring in 02 with ERA+ of 139, 171, 158. He got hurt in 04, struggled, sucked, pitched only 22 gawdawful innings and was let go at the end of the year. He signed on with the Reds in 05 and was released after only 12 innings. He told Brian McTaggart of the Houston Chronicle he wants to sign with the Astros, the team he always wanted to play for (and yall KNOW what a sucker I am for talk like that) and that he feels good and is healthy. Which would be nice. Who knows if he can regain what he had a few years ago, but hey, I got NO problem with a minor league contract. He’s another guy who is not a high K pitcher – when he was on top, he only averaged 5.15K/9 IP and he averaged 2.75 BB/9 IP and he kept homers very low – 0.58/9 IP.
Kelly Wunsch, age 34, LHP (you KNOW Phil is drooling), from Bellaire, picked 1st round by the Brewers in 93 out of A&M. For whatever reason, he didn’t do that well in the Brewers Organization, and he was converted to a reliever in 98, but released after 6 years in the minors. He was signed as a FA by the White Sox in 2000 and finally made it to the bigs. He was very good his first year, pitched 61.1 innings with a 2.93 ERA. Unfortunately, he sucked in 01 – guess he must have been hurt, but he came back in 02, pitched well over 31 innings. Guess he must have been pretty much a LOOGY by 03, again he pitched only 36 innigns, but did well, posting a 2.75 ERA with 8.25K/9 IP, 0.25 HR/ 9, but a horrendous 6.25 BB/9. He was hurt again in 04 and basically didn’t pitch. He signed on with the Dodgers in 05 and pitched 23 innings with a 4.56 ERA – again the high K and high BB/ and low HR/9 IP. He had shoulder surgery last year, SEZ he feels great. Good. Again, I got NO problem with a AAA contract, seeing as how we are not really operating the AAA club as a normal progression to the majors, but as a profit maker stocked with mostly AAAA guys (you got Joe McEwing as your MVP, that sez it ALL…)
So all yall decide – success or suck-cess?