So far this season, as far as I can tell, this is what our illustrious brain trust has conspired to do with the pitching staff:
- They sent Joe Ross to Syracuse to start the season, purportedly to “save innings on his arm” but then threw him when it was 41 degrees with a 17-mph wind (so, in other words, his fragile arm was throwing in a mid 30s-wind chill in upstate NY in April) instead of having him throwing warm-up innings in Palm Beach, where its 70 and the whole staff is there to cater to him.
- They apparently did this so that the team wouldn’t be forced into a “rash” decision on Enny Romero or perhaps the critical 5th bench slot decision between Wilmer Difo and Michael Taylor to start the season.
- So by doing so with Ross, he’s “stuck” in AAA for at least 15 days, so when a need came for a 5th starter this past saturday (which wasn’t like it was a huge surprise) they bought the contract of 2017 NRI Jeremy Guthrie.
- Guthrie, for those of you that don’t know, is now 38 years old, last pitched in the majors in 2015 (where he put up a 5.95 ERA in 148 innings for Kansas City), spend 2016 pitching in AAA (where he had a combined 7.17 ERA for two AAA teams in 86 innings) and in frigging *Australia* (where against what is probably only High-A at best competition he could only muster a 3.38 ERA in 16 innings). But, but, he had a sterling sub 3.00 ERA this spring, so by all means we had to jump both our existing AAA-based 40-man starters A.J. Cole and Austin Voth (both of whom, it should be noted, easily bested Guthrie’s AAA numbers last year) so that he could be added and called up to make the 4/8/17 start in Philly.
- Guthrie, as we know, sh*t the bed in his spot start. 10 runs, 2/3rds of an inning.
- He was so bad, that even surprising me he was DFA’d the following morning, showing a surprising lack of patience for someone that (as you just read) this team did an awful lot of chess piece moving so as to give him a 25-man spot.
- In his place, knowing that the bullpen had just thrown 8 and a third innings …. does the team call up any of its FIVE (5) existing 40-man relievers?? Nope; they purchase the contract of a DIFFERENT NRI from this spring Matt Albers for Sunday’s game.
So what are we to make of this sequence of events?
Clearly, the team does not rate any of its current “spare relievers.” If your names is Trevor Gott, Rafael Martin, Austin Adams, Matt Grace or even Jimmy Cordero I wouldn’t be making long term plans to find housing in the DC area. Because the simplest path would have been to call up one of these guys. Instead, the team went again out of its way to give a MLB tryout to another NRI, in for-real games with for-real consequences. I guess they didn’t get enough of a look at these guys during the spring?
Does any of this make sense to you? Why wasn’t Ross just with the team to make his scheduled start? Why didn’t they invent a soft injury to Oliver Perez or someone to clear room to keep 8 pitchers? Was it that important to keep 31% strike-out machine Taylor on the bench for the first week? He didn’t even get an AB!
I’m confused by all of this. Maybe you rationalize and say, “oh well its April, they can afford to waste games to find a diamond in the rough like Guthrie or Albers.” Or you can say, “well what the hell was 6 weeks of spring training for?” I mean, if the team knew ahead of time it was willing to waste a game in the Philly series with an experimental starter, why not call up Voth?? We know what Cole can do, and they *should* have been able to tell what Guthrie can do by now …