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  1. Hellickson really surprised me with both his K and BB numbers last season. I expected him to be quite a bit better. Instead he benefited greatly from an unusually low BABIP.

    Comment by Gregory — February 9, 2012 @ 4:35 pm

  2. Considering only 19 pitchers threw more than 200 innings last year, the real answer is pretty much always to stand pat, and let your pitching surplus dissolve as the season progresses

    Comment by Scott — February 9, 2012 @ 4:41 pm

  3. The easiest way to solve the rotation crunch is to realize Wade Davis is not a good starting pitcher. He’s had two sub 1 WAR seasons and a FIP, XFIP over 4.50; yet people still seem to think this guy is a credible starting option.

    There are just 2 pitchers in baseball with 300innings over the last 2 years who have a lower WAR… Nick Blackburn and Bronson Arroyo. Davis is dead last in xFIP.

    The Rays have some tremendous starting pitching but they don’t really have seven viable starters…. they have six (and I think Cobb is the odd man out)

    Comment by Tom — February 9, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

  4. Blanton’s K-rate went up in Philly because all of sudden he got to pitch to pitchers, which didn’t happen a whole lot out in Oakland.

    Comment by billybob — February 9, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

  5. What does the thread think Matt Moore’s final stat line for 2012 will be?

    Comment by Brian — February 9, 2012 @ 6:38 pm

  6. 32-0, 0.18 ERA, 0.21 FIP, 398 K, 4 BB

    Comment by Ron Swanson — February 9, 2012 @ 7:53 pm

  7. I assume the 4 walks are for those times when he’s bored and wants to see what it’s like pitching from the stretch.

    Comment by Mark — February 9, 2012 @ 8:57 pm

  8. Isn’t this the exact reason why the Rays should’ve moved Davis, before the bottom really drops out?

    Comment by LuckyStrikes — February 9, 2012 @ 9:25 pm

  9. Too late I think… should’ve dealt him last year where maybe they get a decent prospect for him. Not sure how much trade value he has now.

    He’s cheap so at this point he probably has more value to them in the pen. This will also limit the arbitration raises; if he continues to start he’ll probably get bigger raises even if he’s putting out <1 WAR seasons.

    Comment by Tom — February 9, 2012 @ 9:58 pm

  10. 4 years/$12.6M (2011-14), plus 2015-17 club options

    signed extension with Tampa Bay 3/31/11, replacing 1-year deal signed 2/26/11
    11:$1M, 12:$1.5M, 13:$2.8M, 14:$4.8M, 15:$7M club option, 16:$8M club option, 17:$10M club option ($2.5M buyout)

    His contract is his only value at this point. If a team thinks they can get him figured out then you could have a decent pitcher for a locked in figure that isn’t cumbersome.

    Comment by Sandy Kazmir — February 9, 2012 @ 10:16 pm

  11. I laid out something along the lines of: 190 IP, 188 Ks, 75 Walks, 16 homers, .185 batting average against, 3.50 FIP, 3.15 ERA with that defense and his own ability to limit the damage of balls in play.

    Comment by Sandy Kazmir — February 9, 2012 @ 10:19 pm

  12. There are are plenty of organizations that wouldn’t consider having 7 starters, 2 of which have a total of 10 regular season majors starts between them, a surplus. And I’m not trying to denigrate the promise of Cobb nor Moore.

    The Rays operate in a different arena, not having the financial luxury of other contending clubs, so it likely seems like a surplus. And to be fair they have a couple of other guys pitching at AAA that a number of orgs would be contemplating promoting to the bigs, so there’s added insurance there. But I also think for Rays fans who have enjoyed a few years of incredible health among their starting pitchers the perception of surplus is enhanced.

    Some would likely argue that somehow that’s the result of their training methods, or their more youthful inventory. To some extent they may be true – the Rays org is somewhat more deliberate than many orgs in moving pitchers up the ladder, building their IP in a more steady way. Of course, some of that patience has also been a byproduct of the fairly remarkable health they’ve enjoyed. And youth likely plays a part, but we’ve seen plenty of under 30 pitchers suffer significant injuries.

    The fact is if they could have made a deal they felt bettered what they did in free agency to fill short term holes (which remain long term holes, and maybe at C even short term ones), they probably would have. Or they asked too much for too little in the minds of their potential trade partners.

    It seemed they lined up with the Reds, but got scooped by the Padres. In turn it appeared they may have matched up with the Pads to at least get a young 1B, but the Cubs scooped them. Or the Rays FO just didn’t like Rizzo (or the Pads didn’t like Niemann or Davis), or Alonzo and Grandal, that much. They were likely unwilling to take on much salary in either deal, which in both cases the Padres did. Since the Rays are contenders, perhaps Rizzo or Alonso at 1B were too much a shprt term risk. Apparently they would have had to give more than they were willing to for young players fitting at least their near term needs. I’m sure they spoke to both clubs – apparently the perception of trade chip value didn’t mesh.

    At any rate, should the worm turn on their pitchers’ health, I’m sure Rays fans will be congratulating their GM on his genius for holding steady.

    Comment by nyyfaninlaaland — February 10, 2012 @ 2:19 am

  13. I appreciate your look into the Ray’s staff construction. Yet, looking at most ML staffs here in February, it’s a pretty simple roster debate in context. By comparison, the Rockies’ or Red Sox’ staffs are both undefined in breadth and precariously pivotal to their team’s success. They would be far more compelling a subject for rotation-crunching.

    Comment by Rick Reusch-Roll — February 10, 2012 @ 4:56 am

  14. The walks are all intentional passes given to Pujols with the bases empty in 1-0 games, correct?

    Comment by Mike — February 10, 2012 @ 10:04 am

  15. The Rays have had their share of pitching injuries, both to prospects and at the major league level, Kazmir being the most notable in the big leagues. Niemann has also had a history of injury problems both in the minors and the past few years in St. Pete. Jake McGee is probably the most notable prospect who suffered from the injury bug, but there are others that come to mind, like Wade Townsend . I don’t know if pitchers in the Rays organization suffer less injuries than players of the same age with other teams, but it would be interesting to find out.

    Although the Rays certainly recognize the value of starting pitching and try to do everything possible to protect their young arms, pretty much every other team does too. The reason the Rays have a surplus of young major league ready starting pitching is because they simply have successfully developed more pitchers now aged between 20-30 than any other team in baseball. Think about it- Shields, Price, Hellickson, Moore, Niemann, Davis, Jason Hammel, Cobb, Torres, Mitch Talbot, Jake McGee, Andy Sonnenstine and Chad Gaudin are the ones that I can think of off the top of my head. I am sure there are many more. Starting pitching is the most valuable commodity in baseball and is the primary reason behind the Rays success. That said, if the Rays are going to go all the way they need a few more big bats in the lineup. Hopefully they can flip some of their arms to make that happen.

    Comment by Mike — February 10, 2012 @ 10:32 am

  16. Correct. Doesn’t every major league team end up using at least 8 starters over the course of a full season anyway, in many cases more? Caveat: I am completely going off the top of my head, so I could be very wrong. 7 above average starters is definitely something all teams want though.

    Comment by Andrew — February 10, 2012 @ 11:33 am

  17. You had me at meat tornado.

    Comment by Andrew — February 10, 2012 @ 11:34 am

  18. He was squeezed as much as any pitcher in baseball. Also, look at his swinging strike %, and it was an abnormally low amount that occurred with 2 strikes. His K rate will go up this season, and having Molina framing pitches for him should help out both his K and BB rates.
    BTW, he had a phenomenal infield popup rate, which if he can continue, helps with the low BABIP.

    Comment by td32 — February 12, 2012 @ 8:36 pm

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