Friday, August 07, 2009

Grabbing Pavano

Twins acquire Carl Pavano (RHP) from the Cleveland Indians

The logical take on this is that there is nothing to lose, but that's not quite right. Something is lost. How much depends on your opinion of the front office.

If your opinion is not high (and that seems to be the predominant view lately), then there is nothing to lose. Plus, there is something fairly significant to gain, just not where you thought it would be.

It isn't in the starting rotation. Pavano's performance most closely resembles the guy he's likely replacing, Francisco Liriano. A lot of the numbers - ERA, WHIP, HRs, Innings - are almost identical. Pavano gives up more hits and Liriano gives up more walks. Liriano strikes more out, but that hasn't done him much good. Pavano has had a pretty good run going for the last month or so, but a couple of bad outings in July messed that up.

Would I trust Pavano more than Liriano over the next month-plus? Not really. But I wouldn't trust him less.

No, the benefit is on the correlating move. Liriano gets to move into the bullpen which is good news for two reasons - check that - three reasons, because it gets RA Dickey out of there. It also gives the Twins potentially a new dominant guy in the 'pen. Batters are hitting .172 against Liriano over his first 15 pitches and .225 against him over his first 30. That sounds a lot like a 7th or 8th inning setup man, which would be a significant improvement.

The other good reason is that it might protect Liriano's arm. Liriano's innings aren't high, but a lot of those short inning games still resulted in plenty of pitches. Considering he woke up with forearm pain (which is often a symptom of elbow problems) a couple of weeks ago, it might pay to lower his innings.

But it has a cost, too. This move makes it much less likely that the Twins will try and claim any other starting pitchers on waivers this month. The Twins biggest problem for the last two weeks has been their starting rotation, and this move cements that the solution must come from internal improvment, whether that be players stepping up, minor leaguers filling gaps, or Rick Anderson voodoo.

Of course, that's only a cost if you had any faith that Bill Smith's front office was going to make a better move. Fair or not, for most of Twins Territory, that's a small risk we're willing to accept.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hopefully, the ptbnl is of little consequence. My guess is it would be an AAAA type pitcher, of which we have plenty.