Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cubs surprisingly impressive 2010 starting rotation

Fielder Independant Pitching is a stat that measures the events a pitcher can control: strikeouts, walks and home runs allowed. For all other balls in play it is up to the fielders to decide whether an at bat becomes a hit or an out. Reading a write up on the newest Cub, Carlos Pena at Fan Graphs, I came across this note that was a little staggering:

"Each of the team’s five presumptive starters — Carlos Zambrano, Carlos Silva, Tom Gorzelanny,Randy Wells, and Ryan Dempster, had a FIP under 4.00 in 2010. These combined could lead the Cubs back into the picture for a relatively weak NL Central."

To have all five starters performing at the level of a #2 or #3 is a testament to the seemingly unappreciated season this rotation collectively put together.

This is more evidence to support the notion that it is misguided for the Cubs to be pursuing a starter right now, in a time when they claim to be under cost constraints. $10 million to Carlos Pena was a little expensive, but has a chance to be a strong value with Pena's combination of on-base ability, power and solid defense. The Cubs are also pursuing Brandon Webb while shopping Tom Gorzelanny. This is a swap that I would welcome with open arms, but the question is where do the Cubs get the money to sign Webb? (edit: Pena's contract is structured to allow for this)

The may lie in their ability to trade Kosuke Fukudome, a move that would save about $6 million, assuming they would have to eat half of his contract.

Lost in the shuffle is Kerry Wood, a player every Cubs fan would love to see pitch again in the Friendly Confines. However, Wood is coming off of a $10 million salary and may now be priced outside of the Cubs range. A hopeless optimist may wonder if Kid K would come back on a hometown discount. One can dream.

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