FanGraphs Baseball


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  1. One small comment. For the last 4 or so starts Lowe was pitching with a blister on his index or middle finger of his right hand. In the last 4 games in 17.2 innings he produced 3 2B 3 3B and 5 HRs. and saw more flyballs come off him. Going into that game he allowed 43 2B 4 3B and 11 HR in 177 innings. Of course it’s only a piece of the puzzle, but historically Lowe is a better pitcher in the second half where he shaves 3 tenths of a run off of his ERA and increases his K total. This year he did increase his K total but added 7 tenths of a run to his ERA.

    Actually I think it’s possible that the blister showed up around start number 28 for Lowe, But anyway the point is moot and the main point of the article is correct, Lowe by any standard disappointed, and there are tons of red flags.

    One positive for Lowe though is he had all the years in the pen so I think more then alot of pitchers he’s likely to maintain his velocity (for the most part) into his 40s and not experience the massive dropoffs that guys like Smoltz and others have experienced.

    Comment by Scott — November 30, 2009 @ 11:21 am

  2. Does anyone else think that Atlanta was stupid to sign him to that contract? It just doesn’t make any sense. Why would you give $60 million to a good but not great old pitcher when your team has an embarrassment of riches pitching already? Talk about a short-sighted move.

    Comment by Eric Cioe — November 30, 2009 @ 11:35 am

  3. At the time the Braves HAD to do this. The Mets were seemingly about to sign him, and the Braves were desperate for pitching. This was when everyone though Vazquez would be average to above average, not the ace he was this year. No one knew how Hanson would do or even how much MLB time he would see this year. Jurrjens was a minor question mark because of the Sophomore slump possibility, Kawakami wasn’t signed yet. The Braves NEEDED to go out and sign a fairly big name pitcher. I hope they can get rid of him now that our rotation can survive without him, but at the time this was a necessary move.

    Comment by David R — November 30, 2009 @ 11:59 am

  4. did they really have an “embarrassment of riches” when they signed him, though?

    Hudson was not part of their 2009 plans, Kawakami was still an unknown, Hansen was obviously a very talented, but very young pitcher who also had to be put into the “unknown” category at the time, and raise your hand if you saw a 6.6 WAR season coming from Vazquez…

    the Braves needed another guy to guarantee them 200 innings, and Lowe was a pretty safe bet to give them that.

    Comment by Steve — November 30, 2009 @ 11:59 am

  5. Lowe would have been better suited to sign with a team with great infield defense. His home/road splits in LA should have served as warning to any team willing to buck up money for him. Still, the Braves would probably be best served to hanging onto him as they won’t get a good return by trading him this off-season. He’s still a solid 2/3 starter. They won’t get that back and even with their now “vaunted” pitching staff, its good to have a gamer like Lowe who will almost always take the ball every 5th day.

    Comment by NEPP — November 30, 2009 @ 12:17 pm

  6. Dang it Jack, you scooped me. I have something for Hardball Times on Mr Lowe that you will see tomorrow. I’ll dive a little deeper, but there are numerous signs of decline, as you’ve noted.

    Comment by Harry Pavlidis — November 30, 2009 @ 12:35 pm

  7. The fact that the Braves do seem to have a wealth of pitching shouldn’t cause them to move one just to move one. If history has served them well, it can be noted that anything can happen between now and that first pitch of the season. Injuries can and do happen during spring training and even the off-season. Teams that do incur those happenstances before the season seem to be more willing to move more prospect talent to secure their team. Best bet right now is to maintain stats quo unless there’s a possiblity of acquiring a player in the likes of Miguel Cabrera which would mean freeing up payroll.

    Comment by Jason Foughty — November 30, 2009 @ 1:03 pm

  8. random question: how is Javier Vazquez not a free agent yet?

    Comment by Steve — November 30, 2009 @ 1:23 pm

  9. He’s a free agent after the season.

    Comment by PWH — November 30, 2009 @ 1:55 pm

  10. One thing that’s noteworthy. Derek Lowe’s problems were supposedly (by him) mechanical. If that’s true (there’s little reason to believe he’s lying), at least some of the problems that led to lower K rates, higher BB rates, and fewer ground balls are inherently correctable. Of course, to account for aging, it’s fair to regress some of peripherals towards the mean, but I don’t believe his 2009 peripherals are truly indicative of his fundamental skills. And if that’s the case, he’s probably at least close to worth his contract over the next three seasons.

    Just a point.

    Comment by PWH — November 30, 2009 @ 2:04 pm

  11. I am in agreement of Jason, two posts up: look at the Boston Red Sox of 2009. Their pitching depth was most definitely tested from the beginning of the season to the end. As was that of the Toronto Blue Jays.

    No team ever gets through an entire season with only 5 starters…shit happens, and having more than 5 ML quality starters is sometimes actually a very good use of resources.

    Comment by exxrox — November 30, 2009 @ 2:05 pm

  12. In 2004, the Yankees traded for him and gave him a 4 year extension, which I assume started in 2005. That would have made him a FA last winter.

    Did I miss another extension somewhere?

    I know that something funky happens when you trade a player 1 year into a new contract. The player is allowed to request a trade after 1 season, and I think that’s what Vazquez did when he went from AZ to CHI. Did that somehow alter his contract?

    Comment by Steve — November 30, 2009 @ 3:05 pm

  13. He signed a 4-year extension beginning in 2004 (so, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007) with the Yankees, was dealt to the Diamondbacks after 2004, demanded a trade the year after and was traded to the White Sox. At that point, he had 2 years (2006 and 2007) remaining on his contract. He played out those two years in Chicago then signed a 3-year extension, covering 2008, 2009, and 2010. He was dealt to Atlanta after 2008 with 2 years (2009 and 2010) remaining on his contract.

    Comment by PWH — November 30, 2009 @ 3:28 pm

  14. There’s no reason to think he was lying, but we shouldn’t therefore assume he knows what he’s talking about. Pitchers don’t always know what’s wrong or how to fix it; if they did, there wouldn’t be any need for pitching coaches.

    Comment by joser — November 30, 2009 @ 3:37 pm

  15. thanks, that’s exactly what i was looking for. missed that 3 year extension.

    Comment by Steve — November 30, 2009 @ 3:44 pm

  16. No team ever gets through an entire season with only 5 starters…

    The 2003 Seattle Mariners did.

    Though the resulting fatigue might have contributed to their swoon in September after leading the AL West the first five months.

    Comment by joser — November 30, 2009 @ 3:49 pm

  17. How do you go about calculating tERA for a pitcher? Do you use tRA and subtract a standard amount, or do you need the individual components (GB%, etc.)?

    And are there any plans to add tERA to each player’s profile page (instead of just having tRA)?

    Thanks in advance.

    Comment by Mike — December 1, 2009 @ 1:06 pm

  18. He’s a free agent after the season.. thank you so much (k?rlang?ç bayrak)

    Comment by k?rlang?ç bayrak — December 22, 2009 @ 6:21 am

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