The Pitcher Factory Approach
Another week and another submission from our good friend Mac… I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
To paraphrase M’s GM Jack Zduriencik the hardest thing to acquire is a top of the rotation pitcher and you can never have too many arms. If you have not heard him make statements along those lines then you haven’t been paying attention.
If you doubt that take a look at various M’s top prospect lists, Hultzen, Walker, Paxton, and Robles feature prominently, while farther down the development list are Forrest Snow, Jose Campos and Andy Carraway among others who have a decent shot at the show. While the big league roster has Felix, Pineda, Vargas, Beavan, Furbush, League, Wilhelmsen, Ruffin, Leuke, Delebar and Kelley who range from Cy Young winner to very good, to not bad and has a chance at a big league career.
Following Z’s now well know modus operandi of building a pile of possible pitchers through the off season and finding out if some wannabe, once-was, hospital refurbished or failed prospect has actually figured out how, when and where to throw a pitch come spring training time. Preferably with minimal
damage to the few guys we have who can actually hit a pitch with some regularity.
Now GMZ has shown he and his crew have a pretty good eye for arms. Like when they drafted Walker and signed him for $800,000 and he is ranked ahead of Hultzen on some top ten prospect lists. Hultzen with signing bonus, salary and incentives will make close to $10MM, which is probably going to be a
good deal as he out-pitched the top draft pick in the AFL. Jack has also shown he’s fearless trader, not afraid to call out the Yankees when they tried to slip us some damaged goods and smart enough to know he was buying low and selling high on Cliff Lee.
The most common refrain in pretty much all M’s related blogs, printed and electronic media is “WE NEED BATS!!!” You won’t get any argument from me, unless it’s related to some deal with a high albatross factor. Now I didn’t say anything about Fielder did I? If you’re a Fielder fan though let me know, I can get you a great deal on a nuclear power plant in Fukushima. Japan.
There are some decent to great bats on the free agent market. The great ones come with nine digit price stickers and significant miles on their odometer. You can get some from the over-the-hill gang or some other team’s rejects for only seven digits but for the most part those types seem to have a significant drop off when they meet Safeco Field and none come with a service warranty.
You can draft and sign amateur or international bat talent but even that’s gotten dodgy now thanks to The Commish. I’m sure he will be getting lots of Christmas cards from teams in the NFL, NBA and NCAA. (Man can you imagine the number of freebie bottles of good booze and top-drawer food hampers he must get. Mrs. Commish probably never has to cook. They must have a wine cellar several floors deep.) Unfortunately we have to wait to find out the amount of actual money each team can spend, so it looks like there better be plan A, B, and Geronimo! Whatever the amount it’s probably going to put the kybosh on getting A-Rod or Junior 2.0 any time soon.
So, what to do? Well Brother Z has shown us The Way, pitchers, lots and lots of good, very good and save them a Cy Young pitchers. The dollar is down, the euro is euro trash and the yen is flying on Kamikaze Airlines but pitchers, especially the top of the rotation species are the gold standard of baseball. Even the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, Rangers and LAA of A are looking for them. I doubt if there is a bat in the game that could not be had straight up for Felix and Pineda should be good for a first rate dinger donger.
The Zster has already laid in a nice stock of arms and I think he’s going to keep on keeping on. Last season he sent forth a Fister and a Bedard and got back a six pack of major league ready or near ready bodies. He’s the Man With A Plan. Build a Pitcher Factory and the bats will come! Believe in Brother Z, he will lead us to the Promised Land! Can I get an Amen?