Strength in Numbers?

February 13, 2012

I know the Indians took a hit when they found out that Fausto Carmona/Roberto Hernandez Heredia may not get to pitch for the Indians this season.  I didn’t realize that they’d start to play Hoarders: Mediocre Starting Pitcher Edition.  First they trade Zach Putnam to the Colorado Rockies for Kevin Slowey.  Then they’re connected to A.J. Burnett in rumors.  Now they’re supposedly close to a deal for Jon Garland on a minor league contract.

While Slowey and Garland both had rough 2011 seasons, you always hope that they can stage a comeback of sorts once pitchers and catchers report next week.  Garland at least can blame injury – he had shoulder surgery after just 9 starts and 54 innings pitched last season.  He had some solid years with the White Sox, so he’s familiar with the AL Central (although it looks quite a bit different than it did in 2007, his last year with the Sox).  He has a lifetime 4.32 ERA and 1.38 WHIP; there were seven seasons where he struck out 100+ batters.

Much like Derek Lowe, Jon Garland is a name that primarily excites me due to his performance in the past.  Unfortunately, the pitcher that Garland was in 2005 or even 2009 may not be the pitcher that we’ll see in 2012.  If the report is accurate and this is a minor league deal, like so many of the Indians’ other deals this off-season, there’s not much risk in bringing him to camp next week.  I’d much rather see Slowey, Garland and a few minor leaguers battle it out for the last spot in the rotation, than a trade for A.J. Burnett.

If there’s one thing I can say about the Indians’ starting pitching situation, it’s that between Slowey, Garland, Jeanmar Gomez, David Huff and Zach McAllister, I’m confident they’ll be able to fill the hole created by the loss of Carmona/Hernandez Heredia.  Even if they lose one or two options to injury, they can still choose from a sizable pool in order to fill the fifth starter role.  In an absolute emergency, Rafael Perez could probably be converted to a starter.  He’s started in winter ball before and filled the long relief role nicely for the Tribe.  Since Carmona/Hernandez Heredia was so inconsistent to begin with, at least Garland is relatively consistent.



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