Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Marc Hulet Solves Rotation Problem


Those four, I would think, are locks. I came across an interesting solution over at fangraphs to that fifth spot where the Brewers are trying to figure out how to make lemonade out of dog shit.

It seems to be clear that Melvin is mostly unwilling to jettison Suppan. It would be expensive in dollars and whatever currency one uses to measure ego, Freud's mayhap? Melvin is not about to willing give up either it seems, despite the very real benefit to the ball club. Admitting failure is never easy (Kirstie Ally's new reality show, and wardrobe consultant, can attest to that). So let's assume we're stuck with Soup. How can we mitigate his damage while still trying to get some innings out of him? Marc Hulet has an idea:

As we saw yesterday in my introductory post, there is really is no point in wasting time and resources trying to enter the season with five starters earmarked for 25+ starts. No. 5 starters, in the traditional sense, just don’t exist. The best bet is to focus on securing four starters that can make 24 starts or more. In the fifth spot in the rotation, a three-man job-share could then be developed and it would break down like this:

1. A long reliever who would serve as the seventh arm in the ‘pen and be expected to make eight to 10 starts on the year. Ideally, this would be a proven veteran who could stick at the MLB level all season.

2. A pitching prospect that projects to be a fringe No. 3 or 4 with two or three minor league options remaining. He would be introduced to the Majors in this low-pressure role over the next two to three seasons before officially (hopefully) graduating to the role of a reliable third or fourth starter. In this role, the pitcher would need to make about 10 starts at the MLB level each season.

3. A minor league “veteran” pitcher (somewhere in the 25-30 year old range) who has been unable to stick in the Majors – and still has at least one minor league option left – and can be relied on to make at least five starts on the season.

I like the idea because the Brewers currently are tailor made to make this work with a number of individuals. Suppan, Vargas, Parra and Villanueva all have considerable starting/long man experience and each offers a much different repertoire. Throw Chris Narverson into the mix and that is a veritable cornucopia of inconsistent potential to throw a few quality innings.

Now the cruz of Hulet's argument rests on injury prevention, talent training and cost efficiency. Obviously there is nothing the Brewers can do to make Jeff Suppan's contract more efficient.

They can however make Parra a "starter" with none of the pressure that entails and have a solid stable from which to choose when selecting a starter. Pick out of this rotisserie the best match-up and let him start.

There would have to be a few changes in the bullpen to make it work if the Brewers wanted to keep Parra and Nerveson. Namely lefty specialist Mitch Stetter is out. Parra/Narveson will have to assume limited LOOGY roles. Villanueva has also been able to use that change-up effectively against left handed power. Dave Riske also hits the road. He was not good in 2008 and didn't play last year. With Coffey, Hawkins and Villanueva he has no role anyway.

What that gives you is a 4 man rotation, a fifth starter rotisserie and two lefty bullpen arms instead of one, and still only a 12 man pitching staff. The Brewers also maintain control of Parra, Bush and Narveson.

Record wise, the last rotation spot is not going to make or break the Brewers in 2010. However, giving up talented arms just to not pay Suppan another $2 million could have long term ramifications for the ball club. This proposal may not win the Brewers any more games, but it does help them hold on to more pitching potential.


PaulNoonan said...

It seems to be clear that Melvin is mostly unwilling to jettison Suppan. It would be expensive in dollars and whatever currency one uses to measure ego, Freud's mayhap?

Not true. Wouldn't cost a cent.

E.S.K. said...

$2 million dollar buyout, no?

E.S.K. said...

Is the $2m buyout just for 2011? If so then it REALLY makes no sense to keep him this year if it will actually save them two million.

PaulNoonan said...

I believe the buyout is only for 2011, meaning the minimum that we will have to pay Jeff Suppan is his 2010 salary plus 2 Million to go away.

E.S.K. said...

Right, so getting rid of him would cost $2 million at this point.

PaulNoonan said...

Yes, but as opposed to paying him next year's salary. So they're going to pay him that $2 million one way or another no matter what. For all intents and purposes, it's paid. Hence it costs nothing.

E.S.K. said...

I agree the salary is sunk but that $2m buyout isn't. They never have to pay it if they don't want. They could keep the idiot around through 2011...nightmares.

It would also count against their salary number this year, and would thus have potential ramifications for various things they use total revenue for; taunting articles, mostly.

ahren said...

no, they have to pay the $2M no matter what.

if they release him at anytime, they have to pay it...

if they keep him, they have to pay it...

if they don't pay it, they pay $14M or whatever the stupid f'ing option is.

E.S.K. said...

I did not realize 2011 was a club option. Jesus that's good news.

ahren said...

the real question i have is, "did Sup buy his tickets for the troops that he normally buys?" or was he hedging his bets too?