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Talking Baseball

Your weekday baseball fix. Some days.



Posted by Mike on Monday, March 01, 2004

June is Pedro Goes on the DL Month

Everybody knows that Pedro Martinez starts thinking about going on the disabled list at the end of May and usually winds up there sometime in June. Theo Epstein certainly knows this and that is why the Red Sox have recently shown some interest in Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez. Here are a few facts about Orlando:

1. He spent all of the 2003 season recovering from surgery.
2. He's a slightly better than average pitcher during the regular season but has excelled in the playoffs.
3. He was the ace for the Cuban national team before he defected before the 1998 season.
4. He is 38 years old in "Cuban" years. This means he is probably 40+ years old.

He is aging quickly and has injury concerns. That said, Hernandez is undeniably an excellent #6 starter/mop-up man. He also has an excellent playoff record:

.............W-L......ERA......WHIP......IP
ALDS.........3-1......1.98.....1.22......27.3
ALCS.........4-0......3.00.....1.29......42.0
WS...........3-1......2.28.....1.16......27.7
Career.......10-2.....2.51.....1.23......97.0

The playoff numbers are pretty to say the least. As a comparison, here are Pedro Martinez's and Curt Schilling's career playoff numbers:

.............W-L......ERA......WHIP......IP
Martinez.....2-3......3.61.....1.05......52.3
Schilling....11-11....1.66.....0.84......86.7

So why else do the Red Sox want El Duque? As it stands right now the Red Sox rotation should look like this:

1. Pedro Martinez
2. Curt Schilling
3. Derek Lowe
4. Tim Wakefield
5. Byung-Hyun Kim

Going into the season that is one of the best rotations in the majors. Should an injury occur, waiting in the wings are Bronson Arroyo and Ramiro Mendoza. Arroyo is a good young talent but he has only thrown 44.3 IP in the majors over the last two years. His endurance over multiple starts is questionable and I question straining his arm this early in his career. Arroyo's last four starts came in 2002 with the Pirates as he worked solely out of the bullpen with the Red Sox last season. Mendoza is returning from the pile of injuries that he sustained last season and really is only being given a chance by the Red Sox this year because he is already on the books for $3.6 million. If Hernandez is in fact signed then Mendoza is likely to be traded.

There is also the benefit in signing Hernandez of simultaneously keeping him away from the Yankees. Past Mussina and Vasquez the Yankees have a number of question marks. Brown is always an injury concern; Leiber, like Hernandez, missed all of 2003 while recovering from surgery; and Jose Contreras has phenomenal "stuff" but his health is still an issue. The Yankees are likely going to need a back-up starter not too far into the season.

For the right price the Red Sox will do well in locking up El Duque. He can provide depth to our pitching staff and in acquiring him will prevent the Yankees from strengthening theirs. This is ultimately all speculation though and knowing how these rumors turn out he likely will not end up with the Red Sox.

Canseco's Career Likely Over

ESPN.com is reporting that Jose Canseco's try-out with the Dodgers did not go well. Surprise. Apparently Canseco thought training at UCLA for "several" weeks would be enough to get into shape for the 2004 season. Considering that he spent most of the last couples years under house arrest you would think that he would have used some of that time for training. I guess he just spent all of that time doing steroids so he could lift things more easily like his china hutch and maybe his piano.


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