Brief recap: Internet buzz says Brewers are looking at trading for Javier Vazquez. Doug Melvin dispels rumors. Todd Welter, for some reason, feels compelled to say: "Don't do it" anyway:
Doug, please keep it that way. Do not make this out to be general manager speak where you are trying to hide interest to keep the asking price down. You would be better off throwing Seth McClung and Mike Burns out there every five days.
That's our Benchmark of Crazy in Toddles' latest and greatest, friends: it's better to use two guys who, respectively, have career ERAs at or near 5.50, with WHIPs north of 1.50, one of whom is a 30-year-old journeyman who'd never started a major league game before this year, and the other who's failed to get into the fifth inning in either of his starts this season ... we'd rather have them than a guy with a career 4.26 ERA who averages 218 innings pitched a year and sports a career K-per-9 rate of 8.1 (and averages around 50 walks a year).
But hold on: it gets better.
If you think this guy can help in a pennant race, just ask any Yankees or White Sox fan and he-or-she will tell you just how helpful he can be.
Well, I won't ask a Yankees fan, because I'd rather not be subjected to five minutes of said Yankees fan talking about Jeet-ah before we even get on the subject of Javy Vazquez. But, I like Sox fans. Some of my best friends are Sox fans. So, do tell, Todd: what will my Sox Friend have to say about Vazquez?
Let's see a 10.34-career ERA in the playoffs and 18 earned runs in 15.2-playoff innings pitched.
Oh. Well, his post-season stats really don't speak to his ability to help us in a regular season pennant race. I mean, if that was the criteria, you would have told me we shouldn't trade for CC last year, because he's been infamously shitty in the post-season. Plus, you're asking me to judge a guy who's thrown over 2300 major league innings based on how he's done in 15 innings in October. So: how 'bout some of those regular season stats?
He was real helpful to the White Sox down the stretch last season with a 5-9 record in the second half of 2008 including a 6.25 ERA in September.
Ah. OK. To be fair, those September numbers aren't very good. But they're really the product of three bad starts at the end of the month (including two starts made on three day's rest), when he went: 3.2 IP, 6 ER (that's the first three-day's-rest start); 4.0 IP, 5 ER; and 4.1 IP, 7 ER (that's the other three-day's-rest start). The only lesson I take from those numbers is: not everybody's CC Sabathia and can churn out great starts on three day's rest. (And, hell, even CC got lit up on his last three-day's-rest start against the Phils.)
Now, as for this 5-9 in the second half of '08 nonsense: boosted by those three awful late September starts, Vazquez's second-half ERA was 4.74. In the first half, it was 4.61. His WHIP went down from 1.364 in the first-half to 1.260 in the second, and his K-per-9 rate stayed the same: 8.7 in the first, 8.6 in the second. In the first half of the season, he was 7-7, in the second half, he was 5-9. Them's the breaks.
And, just for poops and giggles, here's Javy's second-half numbers in '07: 9-3, 3.84 ERA, 105 Ks, 24 BBs.
I do not care if he can strikeout hitters in bunches,
Um, I do.
he simply can not win when you need him to. Since 2000, he is 48-53 in the second half of the season.
Which is the only thing that matters, of course, for a pitcher. Winning means everything. Forget about the fact that, for his career, Javy's second-half ERA (4.16) is better than his first-half ERA (4.33) -- not to mention that, for his career, he's got a 3.87 ERA in September/October -- forget about the fact that his K-per-9 rate and WHIP are remarkably consistent from first-half to second-half, forget about the fact that he's got more complete games and more shut-outs in his career in the second-half of the season than the first-half of the season. F all that noise, brahs. F all that noise in it's stupid A-S-S. 48-53. That's it and that's all.
That stat is padded when he went 9-2 in the second half of 2001. Take that away and you got a guy that fades down the stretch worse than a 60-1 odd horse.
And the 9-3 mark in the second-half of '07. You know, if you're inclined to cite such numbers.
The real beef Cap'n Welter seems to have with Vazquez is that he's too laid back -- that, when Ozzie Guillen lit into him last year for not being a "big game" pitcher, Vazquez responded (I'm paraphrasing) that he wasn't all that worried about changing a crazy person's perception of him. Apparently, Toddles would've preferred it if Javy tipped over the post-game spread and told Ozzie to go fuck himself, and shaved lightning bolts into his hair and got barbed wire tattoos on both arms, all followed by a dominating, complete-game 2 hitter with 18 strikeouts.
Of course, some players aren't programmed that way. Some players don't want a fire lit under their ass by a maniac like Ozzie. Some players just put up good and sometimes great numbers year in and year out, and would be a welcome addition to a pitching staff that, as of this writing, has four guys who can barely be counted on to work five innings in a game. I'd like some of those players on my team.