Musings about, um... well, the Seattle Mariners as well as a love affair with this game baseball. By Peter J. White
It's pop quiz time. And in your favorite multiple choice format, too.
You are the General Manger, and you have just lost one of your promising starters for the next 4-6 weeks. You choose to fill the 5th spot in your rotation with: (Choose only one of the following)
Pitcher A - ERA 3.84 H/9 9.06 WHIP/9 12.30 SO/9 4.57 BB/9 2.99 SO/BB 1.53 HR/9 0.89
Pitcher B - ERA 2.99 H/9 6.98 WHIP/9 11.13 SO/9 11.38 BB/9 4.07 SO/BB 2.80 HR/9 0.58
The above are 2002 stats. Which one did you choose? Was it the pitcher with the lower ERA, who gives up fewer hits, allows fewer baserunners, strikes out more than twice the number of batters, and gives up fewer home runs? Did we mention you only have to pay Pitcher B the minimum salary? Well, it seems Terry Ryan, GM for the Minnesota Twins, has chosen Pitcher A, better known as the 38-year-old Kenny Rogers, for a one-year $2 million contract, over Pitcher B, 24-year-old Johan Santana, to fill Eric Milton's shoes for 4-6 weeks, thus bumping Santana back to the pen where he was last year. Something is wrong with this picture. The best I can figure is the Twins are trying to pull a Joel Piniero with Santana, the old "he's more valuable in long relief than in the rotation" crap that the Mariners pulled with Piniero for the first month of last year. Maybe there's something with Johan the Twins just don't like (health issues, attitude), but being just a year removed from the contraction scare and the supposed financial restrictions of the Twin Cities market, this is exactly the kind of move the Twins can't afford to make, paying 10 times the salary to bring in a "proven veteran" when you've got young talent that's twice as good already in the system. The best Santana can hope for is to prove his worth in the bullpen and fill in when the next Twins starter goes down, like Piniero last year. And if they're still drinking the same water they were last year amongst the Minnesota pitching staff, he may still be in the rotation come Opening Day.