Friday, December 02, 2005

The AP story I linked to about the Carrasco signing has been updated since I last read it. It now contains the following passage of doom:
The Angels finalized the agreement with Carrasco shortly after withdrawing their offer to retain free-agent right-hander Paul Byrd. Free-agent left-hander Jarrod Washburn, another starter, also won't return.

"We're dropping out of the Paul Byrd chase," Angels general manager Bill Stoneman said in a conference call.


"We envision Hector as having a shot at our rotation," Stoneman said. "All that will be determined in spring training. Our scouts had good reports on him and they suggested him, in particular as a starter."

Manager Mike Scioscia, also on the conference call, said: "We think Hector is a guy who can step up and helps us and be a candidate for our rotation. There's a little risk in anything you can do, but we're confident our rotation is going to be of championship quality."
I can't even ... like, my brain won't allow this information to exist inside of it. Carrasco has started six games in his entire frickin' life. Five of them were last year.

He actually pitched fairly well in those five starts, notching a 2.03 ERA in 27 2/3 innings, striking out 27 against 13 walks. But ... one of those starts was in Shea Stadium (in a great pitchers' park against a mediocre offensive team), one was at San Diego (a ridiculous pitchers' park), one was in Washington (another great pitchers' park) against a mediocre San Franciso team, and another was at Florida (guess what? pitchers' park). In the fifth start, he pitched poorly in Washington against the Phillies.

I don't know what the Angels see in this guy that makes them think he can be a reliable fifth starter. I mean ... I see how the market for Paul Byrd might be getting out of control, with offers of three-year deals and everything.

Apparently Carrasco added a cut fastball or something to his repertoire last year, and that may have accounted for the success he had. Though pitchers can make jumps when things like that happen, the idea that a 36-year-old who's been a mediocre reliever for 80% of his career is all-of-a-sudden gonna turn into a legit starter strikes me as crazy-talk. Why not put Scot Shields in the rotation and try to find another set-up man?

Anyway, I'll be shocked if this mediocrity gets more than a few starts. You'd have to think that Joe Saunders or even Jered Weaver will be able to beat him out for a job. I'm not sold on Saunders, and I don't think Weaver's ready (groundballs -- can you induce them?), but, jeez ... I just don't see how Hector Fricking Carrasco is the solution to any damned problem the Angels have.

No one saw this one coming, not even Big Joe McDonnell. Wow.
How utterly tragic. I guess we're not going to be competing in 2006.
Climb down off that ledge!

If you start him all spring, you'll get an idea if he can do it. If he can do it at near league-average level (certainly a possibility, if his new pitches indeed mean something, and if his limited success as a starter wasn't a total fluke), we'll have one of the cheapest 5th starters acquired this offseason.

If he can't, it'll probably be clear in spring training, and Saunders will battle (and likely beat out) Bootcheck and Weaver, while Carrasco adds depth to the bullpen (where Shields is a uniquely dominant asset, and not some talented 5-inning guy).

I'd certainly rather gamble with Carrasco at 2/$6, than with Byrd at 3/$21, and I say that as a back-end rotation fanatic.
You're right, signing Carrasco instead of Byrd may have been a shrewd move, financially. However, I'm a tad disappointed because going into the off-season I thought we'd be able to lock up Byrd for a reasonable price.
I agree with matt.

It's become pretty obvious that Byrd will take the money over the good times he had with the Angels last year. It would be a mistake to sign him for three years with quality replacements coming up soon from the Minors. We don't need to do the Cabrera thing again.

This move seems pretty low-risk. If Carrasco can really start and be a reliable fifth starter, what an incredible deal! If not, let Shields start (and he will make a damn good starter) and put Carrasco in the bullpen. Even if last year was a fluke (and it looks like it was), and Carrasco performs like Yan and Gregg, its not a big hit. That is, we aren't trading away a top prospect or spending a lot of money on the guy.

I think the potential reward of Carrasco being a reliable number 5 starter or a solid member of the bullpen outweighs the potential risk of throwing away $6 million over the next two years.
I wonder if Stoneman didn't give up on Byrd too quickly in as much as Cleveland just bagged Byrdie for 14.25 mil over two years. Hmmmmm . . .
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