He went straight from Double-A to the big show. Big mistake in my opinion. His numbers were reflective of a somewhat above-average AA starter but in now way were those numbers a good justification to just jump the kid up to a rotation spot. He was brought up too early in a hasty move to bolster a few rapid, vital losses to the bullpen.
He needs to go down to AAA and spend sometime polishing his mechanics in an environment where the public penalties are diminished and his success can progressively grow him into a reliable pitcher.
These first four starts are not proof that the kid is not ready for the bigs. These starts are proof that there are some problems to be addressed in the front office.
If pulling Gausman up was an attempt to provide a quick injection to the starting rotation, then such an experiment should be regarded as a catastrophic failure. The kid has had too many failures at this level for him to approach the mound now and still feel confident about making his delivery without rushing or hesitating. As a result, I think one of two moves should be made.
First – Gausman down to AAA once Chen is healthy again.
Second – Option Patton to AAA and bring up Arrietta. I’ve seen Arrietta throw good individual innings. He starts to fall apart once he realizes that he has to keep up a stellar performance and that’s the anxiety that starts to break him down. He knows he should be great, wants to keep doing great, but he also knows that fatigue will set in for him and when that happens, everything goes to hell.
So, make him a reliever. Run him through things like they have with Brian Matusz. Patton is a liability in the bullpen now and everyone knows that Arrieta has the weapon selection necessary to get a few quick outs in a tough situation. Jake’s not a long relief man, he’s a guy who can perform, but has a hard time sustaining that performance.
Third – McFarland cannot be used in a recovery situation. When there are men on base, the anxiety of the previous pitcher’s mistakes (or a stellar offense) begin to rattle him. He doesn’t get quick strikeouts. He struggles under pressure and it’s been unfair to him. He’s been the designated clean-up man who’s put in a position where he has to retroactively work to take care of the starter’s mistakes. In all reality, he’s just there to burn up innings, but he’s not capable of doing that when the inning isn’t over. Instead, he should come in to keep things under control while they’re already pretty stable and burn some innings to keep the O’Day fresh.
Hunter – Tommy should be the guy who goes in to put out the fire. His fastball can force a short pop-fly and he’s more than adequately proven his ability to field on those hot quick grounders. If Tommy took over for the long relief role that TJ is in now, you would see a lot less of these appearances that seem to besmirch his real capability as a pitcher.
Strop – Pedro pitched brilliantly in the WBC and he did it because he was competing for his homeland and the people whose lives revolve around baseball. That was a proud time for him and I think he should be celebrated for his accomplishments there. Rick Dempsey’s comments about his distaste for the WBC reflect his own belief that the MLB is the most important league in the world and players should regard that as their primary league. For Pedro, winning in the WBC was probably one of the proudest moments of his life as a Dominican and as a pelotero and I think Baltimore owes him some benefit of the doubt regarding his triumph for his homeland.
Opt Patton to Norfolk, replace with Arrieta
Make hunter a long relief man
option Gausman back down to AAA when Chen is healthy
Starters: Chen, Hammel, Tilly, Freddy, Miguel.
Relief: Tommy in the tight spots, TJ at the back of the lineup, Strop in a similar position. Give Arrieta some shots are taking out some designated targets but don’t put the whole game on him. Kid’s not starting pitching material but he sure ain’t lookin at retiring. Best case scenario, the kid picks up some good innings and gets that ERA down a bit to improve his trade value.
Oh yeah, and trade Bundy. Get a veteran starter from a team that’s in a rebuilding phase on the pretense that Bundy will be able to fill that progressive “growth” their looking for.
But whatever, I don’t know ish about baseball. Please tell me why I’m wrong.
Oh, and another question, can someone explain to me why Jim Palmer is not our pitching coach? Is there something I don’t know here? I know Adair is part of the culture down there and I don’t think he needs to be removed. But is there some kid of “Assistant to the Assistant Pitching coach” that our hall of famer could be instated for down on the field? Personally, I prefer Jim Hunter’s silly banter and Mike Bordick’s self-deprecating humor more than Palmer’s dugout gripes and groans. Wouldn’t his criticism be more useful down on the field?