Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Cleaning Up Bavasi's Mistakes

To respond to/build on Tad's excellent post:

Look, David Wells at this point in his career is only the correct answer to the question "Who ate the rest of the pizza? ALL of it??"

Wells, currently 44 years old, melted down for the San Diego Padres this season, to the tune of a 5.54 ERA in 118 2/3 IP. In the puny National League West. It's only that GOOD because he got 12 of his 22 starts in very friendly and spacious Petco Park.

I know, I know...his peripherals say that he's still got something in the tank. 4.86 FIP, 4.81 xFIP, 33 BB to 63 SO.

But two things are going on here. First, HoRam sucks SOOOOOOOOO much that in comparison, those numbers look good to us. (Thanks again for the NEAT Soriano-HoRam trade, Bill!)

Second, those crap numbers mask what viewers saw occurring when they watched the 44 year old pitch in several outings this season. He's lost command of his pitches. (Funny thing, too...other peripheral numbers support this view).

Let's start with a number I already reported, but in the wrong form to see just how limp Wells's age 44 season has been:

63 K in 118 2/3 IP can also be stated as 4.6 K/9, which is where Wells has been since 2005 ended; he's not had an inspiring K/9 since 2002, when he was a mere 39 years old. That 33 BB, though, works out to 2.4 BB/9, which is a figure WAY above career, last year, or any other combination of his numbers you want to assemble. I'm not just talking about his final atrocious 5 starts after the All-Star Break. Although he sure looked like he'd lost command by that point. Yelling at umps for not calling pitches was surely born out of his frustration that he could no longer put the ball where he wanted it, over a stretch of over a month...nay, the entire season.

If you're going to walk that many batters, you'd better strike guys out (oops, not Wells), or else induce huge numbers of grounders to wipe them out on the basepaths with plenty of DPs. Well, David Wells has sucked at that prodigiously all season as well (again, NOT just his final month meltdown). He's down in 2007 to 41.7% of his balls in play being grounders, from a career mark just south of 50%. That's a huge drop.

From the perspective of any other GM running a playoff contender, we'd HAVE to conclude that the very large sign on David Wells reads "Just walk away."

However, because Bavasi PLANNED to hand the ball to HoRam every five days, we're ALL in baseball hell...where signing David Wells really isn't much of a gamble. So why not? Sign him up. Maybe he can be the second coming of Tatonka.

At least baseball hell comes with a pennant race, which is more than I expected this season to yield. Go M's!


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