Monday, May 18, 2009

It's Purely Statistical, Sean...

That bastard Randy Wells, disregarding Sean Marshall's feelings.

0-1, 5.87 ERA, 2.35 WHIP, .300 BAA

3-1, 2.90 ERA, 1.226 WHIP, .216 BAA

0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.041 WHIP, .167 BAA

Those are three stat lines important to this discussion. The first is Neal Cotts' line this year, which we can all pretty much assume by now just isn't going to get better, given his 4.55 career era and 1.466 career WHIP. The second is what Sean Marshall has done in his career as a reliever (vs. 15-23, 4.73 ERA, 1.425 WHIP, .269 BAA starting). The third is what Randy Wells has done in the first 16.1 innings of his major league career, and its why he needs to be the fifth starter for the foreseeable future.

Now I don't know that Randy Wells is capable of continuing to pitch all that effectively as the fifth starter. His career minor league numbers are pretty decent (43-27, 3.74 ERA, 1.336 WHIP) and he was off to the best start of his career at Iowa before the call up, so that gives some reasons for optimism. The fact of the matter is that this team will be better if Wells continues to pitch quality innings as the fifth starter when Zambrano comes back and Marshall moves to the pen and makes Neal Cotts completely irrelevant. There's really no downside to this unless one considers Sean Marshall's feelings, which I don't. If Wells works as the fifth starter, Marshall immediately makes the bullpen more effective, which as we all know is a necessity as so far the only pitchers that have been reliable more often than not are Marmol and Angel Guzman. If Marshall moves to the pen not only does he fill the LOOGY role that, while overrated, seems important to Lou, but he's a guy Lou has faith in and will pitch in a much bigger role than that as well. If Wells starts to fumble you can always move Marshall back to the rotation.

I've heard some pretty inane arguments against this move, from "Marshall deserves it" to "call up a lefty from Iowa." The problem with the first argument is simple. Who cares? Yeah, I too think Sean Marshall could develop into a solid middle of the rotation starter. The problem? He hasn't particularly grabbed the job by the balls with his 4.73 ERA as a starter. If he deserves it so much, he could probably have taken it by now. This team needs to win now, and Marshall is more helpful to them in the pen at this time. In the future he may benefit them more in the rotation, in which case....he goes back. It's not rocket science, people. The second one sounds great. The only problem is there's not a single left hander at Iowa or even the entire minor league system who is even on the 40 man roster. Not a single one. This means there'd have to be several moves to displace someone from the roster and call up either Jason Waddell (5.73 ERA), Jayson Ruhlman (10.57 ERA) or journeyman JR Mathes. I'm not really all that inspired by those options.

So we're left with the fact that Wells should start, if only for a few games to see if he's a real big leaguer or just a mirage, and Marshall should go to the pen, more because of Neal Cotts' failings rather than his own. Sorry Sean, but this is how its gotta be.