Rats. Thought I’d posted this a few days ago, but guess not.
I know that except for the mystifying aquisition of Clint Barmes and his 64 OPS+ for somewheres around 4-5 million smackeroos, that this team is on a mission to lower payroll a LOT, to somewhere between 65 and 70 mill with only Clank’s 19 millstone and the ol WB’s 12 mill applicable to 2012.
At the winter meetings, Ed Wade spent a lot of time chasing Jeff Francis but ended up signing Seattle cast-off LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith for 750K to compete for the 5th spot. Not sure if it is Nelson Figueroa or Bud Norris who should be getting nervous. Ed Wade also tossed a few bucks to snag a few Rule V pitchers – more on them in a minute,
Rowland-Smith is a rarity in MLB – he’s Australian, signed as a FA by the Mariners in 2000. He was used as both a reliever and a starter in each of his minor league seasons. He was called up in 07 and threw 38.2 innings over 26 games with a 3.96 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP and 3.5 BB/9 and 9.8 K/9.
In 08, he appeared in 35 games over 46 innings with a 3.30 ERA and started 12 games, averaging 6 IP/GS with a 3.50 ERA. Not bad at all and Seattle, mired in the depths of suckage, sure nuff needed a good starter. Damm, they used to be a really good team – not sure what happened there but sure looks like nobody hits in that stadium and pitchers don’t thrive in spite of Safeco being a pitchers’ park.
In 09, he got hurt the first game of the year, and after he got off the DL, took a while to rehab at AAA, but did quite well when he came back, throwing 93 innings over 15 games (6 IP/GS) with a 3.74 ERA/1.18 WHIP.
I should note that as a starter, his strikeout rate is incredibly low for a ML starter – in 08, it was 2.75 (no, I am not kidding) and in 09 it was 4.9 K/9 IP. His walk rate isn’t bad, 2.5 – 3.5 BB/9, but if he doan get no defense, he ain’t gonna do real too good. He wasn’t homeriffic, giving up about 1 HR/9 IP.
Then came last year, which was, um, not good. He started 20 games and relieved in 7, with a record of 1-10. Yeah, I’m not big on win-loss, but I am posting this merely to point out how they used Paulino’s W-L as an excuse for dumping him for crap, but they signed Rowland-Smith for 750K. Then again, Fast Eddie just might could have found hisself that extra LOOGY he been dreamin about. Anyhow, Ryan started 20 games over 101.1 IP with a 6.93 ERA – 40 K, 41 BB, 24 HR, 130 H. That’s B-A-D BAD. He threw 8 innings over 6 games in relief, striking out 1, walking 1, giving up 3 ER. Yeah, small sample size. He went on the DL with a “strained back” at the end of July after giving up 11 runs over 5 innings to the White Sox (here and I thought that was something only Brandon Backe did. Yeah Jennings gave up 11 runs, but that was over 1.1 innings) then started 6 games at AAA in August/Sept, with stats almost as ugly, except his strikeout rate was considerably higher.
Well, when it comes to pitchers, youneverknow about these “injuries” – was he hurt the whole year and was too macho to say so? Did he go on the DL suffering from oversuck? Or is it just that most ML pitchers can’t succeed if they routinely have a K rate of less than 5? Well, at least he’s cheap and he can relieve.
Fast Eddie also picked up a couple of Rule V pitchers (and his only ability is to pick up decent pitchers offn the scrap heaps – he didn’t do too badly with Wesley Wright who, I admit, was no Joakim Soria. But I digress…) They are apparently also competitors for that vaunted 5th spot…
First Lance Pendleton, homeboy from Kingwood, picked in the 4th round of the 05 draft by the Yanks. He was hurt for all of 06 and almost all of 07, so he essentially started his minor league career in 08. His A/A+/AA record is pretty good: 88 GS, 14 in relief over 438 IP: 3.45 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 3.2 BB/9, 7.9 K/9, 0.5 HR/9. He also threw 34 innings at AAA last year – not quiiiite as good. More homers, more hits, fewer K. Which is what you’d expect. Dude would have to pitch pretty darn well to beat out BOTH Bud Norris and Figgy (as well as the relievers Fast Eddie is pimping for the rotation as well) but really, youneverknow.
The other Rule V guy is a 23 year old righty from the DR, Aneury Rodriguez, originally in the Colorado system, spent last year in the Rays’ AAA club – started 17, relieved in 10 finished 7. Overall ERA of 3.80, WHIP 1.35, 3.9 BB/9, 7.9 K/9, 8.2 hits/9 and 0.8 HR/9. Doesn’t look like much, but then again, youneverknow.