Friday, December 08, 2006

And Another Thing....

In this morning’s Daily News Paul Hagen writes:

Some scouts said [Garcia’s] velocity was down dramatically at times last season and that his fastball barely touched 90 even on his good days. Arbuckle disagreed.

"We don't have a lot of concern about that," he said. "His velocity isn't what it used to be when he started out in Seattle. Back then he used to top out at 95. But he's a pitcher now, not a thrower. He's a little different animal."

Garcia is only 31 but all those 200+ innings per season mount up quickly. I still like the deal but I am far from convinced the big right-hander is the savior we’ve all been waiting for. The Phillies’ clearly agree as they continue their quest for bullpen help and another right-handed bat. And well they should.

* * * * * * * *

Barry Bonds has found a job. More to the point, he’s kept his old one. The Giants have re-signed the aging Steroids Man to a one-year $16 million deal. I have to assume his guest appearance at the Winter Meetings moved the Giants off the dime. They must have been worried he'd go somewhere else, break the home run record and then announce he was going into the Hall of Fame wearing, say, a Minnesota Twins cap. The Giants could have saved themselves some money if they’d checked first with Cooperstown. Apparently, they get the last say on whose cap a player wears going into the Hall.

In today’s baseball economy $16 million, even for an aging, bulging superstar must be seen as a bargain. Bonds will put lots of fannies in the seats as he chases Hank Aaron’s record, but if and when he breaks the mark, the drop-off will be precipitous for the Giants, who don’t figure to be contenders in the NL West. Then, they will be left holding the bag with a rapidly fading sour puss making everyone in the clubhouse uncomfortable. That’s the price of “success”.

* * * * * * * *

Speaking of aging though not necessarily fading superstars, what’s with this annual will-he-or-won’t-he bit with Roger Clemens? Now his hedging has infected his protégé, Andy Pettitte, who apparently has unretired before he even retired. Is this such a pitching-starved era that some players are given the first three months of the season off to prepare and then granted special privileges for their few months of active service?

Speaking of “pitching-starved” eras, is ours any more starved than earlier eras or has the nature of pitching if not the overall game changed? Is this also a “hitting-starved” era? I await the reply of some of my sabremetrically-oriented blogging brethren.


Anonymous said...

Tom, just the smallest of corrections - Garcia is 30, and won't turn 31 till june of next year.

(As apart from Jon Lieber, who is 36, and turns 37 at the start of next season.)

I'd be wary of calling garcia a savioiur in the #1 ace sense, but I think he solidifies our rotation. Solidify doesn't sound very thrilling, but I'm much happier with his 200+ innings with the arm lower speed - it means he's well capable of maintaining his work rate.

Plus he's been steadily dropping that walk rate per 9 innings for the last three years - I mentioned when writing about him that I think the best thing about acquiring the guy is he's adjusted and changed how he's pitched - I liked arbuckle's assessment that he was a pitcher, rather than a thrower.

J. Weitzel said...

They're probably looking for a left-handed part-time bat at this point instead of big Manny-esque protection, unless they do something very dramatic like trading Myers. I wouldn't rule it out, but it sounds as if they're going to hold onto Burrell and get another bench player from the left side.

RickSchuBlues said...

I think Philadelphia is in for a big shock when Garcia starts pitching and everyone realizes this guy *isn't even as good as Brett Myers*.

Not that I'm trying to spoil the mood! I'm happy, I like it, I just...we've been here before, is all...

J. Weitzel said...

Listening to radio and feeling the vibe of the Garcia trade here in Philadelphia, I don't think expectations are that high. Most people think he's a No. 3 starter behind Myers and Hamels.

Tom Goodman said...

I sure want him to succeed here, too.

J. Weitzel said...

My excitement for next season can be measured by the contents of today's mail, in which I received a Fabio Castro Topps Rookie Debut for $1.00 plus shipping.

Corey & Carson said...

personally i don't think or expect garcia to be as good as myers. myers still has a lot to prove, but in my opinion he's the staff ace, followed by hamels, and that makes garcia the #3. if he returns to some where around his career era of 4 and his whip stays around 1.25...we've got a solid guy!

George S said...

Whether you attribute it to chemical enhancement or not, I believe hitters in baseball have pushed past pitchers in terms of physical development and overall athleticism in the past 30+ yrs.

You can partly blame the advent of the DH, down to LL level, which limits the athletic demands on pitchers beyond throwing the ball. You can also put some blame on set limits to pitch counts and IP. Individually they might not seem like a significant factor, but over time pitchers have just stopped getting bigger, stronger or faster like the postion players.

It would be interesting to speculate that if pitchers had maintained their overall athleticism and strength that perhaps they wouldn't need to throw so many different kinds of pitches to get hitters out, many of which are bad for your arm and shoulder. This is true more so in HS, college and the minors than in the majors.

Pitchers used to be the best overall athletes on the team in youth and amateur baseball. No longer.