Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Fleshing out the 'pen

Be prepared for Jon Rauch to get sent down. It looks like he's battling for one to two bullpen slots, and there is a lot of reason to believe he'll be an odd man out. Even though I think he's merited the 5th spot, Day pitched very well this week, which seems to be enough to cement his place in the rotation.

The Nats are probably coming home with 6 people in the bullpen, though they'll probably end up with 7 in short order. Corderro, Osuna and Ayala are absolute locks. Robinson seems to be obsessed with the need for left-handed relief to offset the lack of left-handed starters. This isn't the best logic I've ever heard, but it's going to guarantee both Horgan and Eischen a spot, despite the fact that plenty of right-handers are having far better springs. T.J. Tucker and Jon Patterson have both been pitching well enough, and these guys are out of options. That's 7, meaning that either the Nats will go north with 12 pitchers, or one of these guys is going to have to get left behind for a short while. I believe Horgan still has options, so count on it being him.

Meanwhile, if you're in the New Orleans area, keep tabs on Giant Jon Rauch for me. In some ways, it will be fine, because I'd rather he continue to be a starter, and at least he'll get the right amount of work in AAA. But, it's too bad that we're probably not really going to see this guy until there's an injury of some sort.


At 11:39 AM, Blogger Chris Needham said...

Does Rauch have options left? I had read some place that he didn't. And looking at his transactions history, I'm not sure that he has.

You only have three years worth of options. He had two different stints with CHA in 2002, meaning one option year was used. The same thing in 2004.

As far as I know (and here's where I might be wrong!) 2003 should count too, even though he had no Major League service time. The fact that he was on the 40-man and had to be sent down to the minors at the end of spring training would mean that an option year had been used, right?

If they had kept him on the 25-man roster, they would have preserved the option year. But, by sending him down they've used it.

If that's the case, he doesn't have any options left.

And that means that either Frank is going to have to learn how to live with just one lefty, or there's a trade in the works.

At 12:09 PM, Blogger Basil said...

I'm not sure that 2003 actually counts. (Scroll down to the "Options" entry.) If so, then he's got a "fourth" option year.

At 12:15 PM, Blogger Basil said...

BTW, I can certainly see Rauch being shuttled back and forth from NO this year, spotting/filling in as necessary. Or maybe a Day/W.M. Pena trade will moot it. Who knows.

At 12:29 PM, Blogger Chris Needham said...

I stand corrected, I guess!

I'm positive that I read that Rauch was out somewhere. Someone must've made the same mistake I did. (Of course, the Times also had them optioning Endy Chavez to the minors too!)

The flexibility of the option is definitely going to come in handy this year, that's for sure.

At 6:00 PM, Blogger El Gran Color Naranja said...

There will at least be one deal before the season starts. Either for Betemit or Wily Mo. My guess is that Patterson goes in a trade and Rauch makes the squad.

At 8:02 PM, Blogger Basil said...

Barry Svrluga said in a blog entry that a Betemit acquisition is tremendously unlikely.

Which one do you guys think has the better trade value: Rauch or Patterson?

At 8:04 PM, Blogger Basil said...

Well, I might have overstated with "tremendously unlikely," on second thought. His impression, though, is that Betemit won't be a Nat. That's good, I believe. I've seen him live probably 50 times, and he's impressed me maybe on three occasions.

At 10:42 PM, Blogger El Gran Color Naranja said...

Yeah, we're probably not going to get Betemit, but it's more the Braves than us. What Barry doesn't mention is that they're looking for an experienced bullpen arm, something we don't have alot of (Eischen and Osuna are about it). I'm sure they'd take Cordero, but we're not giving that up.

As for how good Betemit is, I think he's good enough to challange Christian. Read into that what you will.

At 10:43 AM, Blogger Basil said...

That's a good way to put it!

And Barry did mention that the Braves wanted bullpenners. Never doubt Barry. Barry's gold.

At 12:16 PM, Blogger tmk67 said...

>Which one do you guys think has the better trade value: Rauch or Patterson?

Rauch, which is fine with me. He seems to have plateaued in his development, with declining strikeout rates and increasing walk rates since 2002. But he is 6'10" and scouty-teams will drool over that, compared to the rather scrawny Patterson. And if Rauch does have this fourth option year, teams will value the ability to stick him in AAA and see what happens, they can't do that for Patterson. (But let's not forget that this year will be Rauch's FIFTH year in AAA!)

I've always liked Patterson and I think he'd do wonderfully in RFK, where his longball proclivity will be mitigated somewhat.

As for Betemit, I don't even know why they were toying around with this Endy-Chavez-of-the-Infield idea. Is he meaningfully better or different than Brendan Harris?

At 4:34 PM, Blogger Chris Needham said...

Betemit isn't quite to Endian levels, even for an infielder. He's a decent backup. He's just never developed fully. He'd be a capable player, but he's just not worth giving a ton up for. Especially bc Atlanta might have to put him on waivers. (He's out of options too)

(And besides, I've already coined the now-injured Henry Mateo as the Endy Chavez of the infield!)

At 6:39 PM, Blogger tmk67 said...

Betemit's minor league numbers (his major league appearances are too small): .279/.344/.426

Endy's minor league numbers (simply to be fair to Endy): .309/.381/.403

But I will grant Chris that Mateo deserves the "Endy-of-the-Infield" Crown: .243/.296/.287!

(Mateo has, in fact, routinely had SLG lower than OBP, which is quite simply hard to do, as it requires a combination of no plate discipline and no extra base hits.)

At 12:41 AM, Blogger El Gran Color Naranja said...

I'm pretty sure the Southern league is harder on batters than PCL, not that it would help Betemit get on base anymore, but he definately has more power than Endy.

Compared to Brendan...I would say Betemit has the potential for more power, but far worse strike zone judgement. Brendan's a better player (though obviously not as good as Carlos Baerga)

And I was just saying Barry didn't specify "veteran" arms. He just said arms. I've been reading Barry for years, don't question my respect of He with the Unspeakable Last Name!

At 8:15 AM, Blogger Basil said...

Oh, my bad, EGCN.

Here's a personal observation on Betemit, although one based on a good deal of personal observation the last three seasons: Although he might continue to develop the power, he's just not going to improve greatly. He's not even that young anymore.

I would take Harris over him, too, but of course neither of them compares to the greatness of Carlos Baerga, who's at least twice the player Lenny Harris is.

At 12:53 PM, Blogger El Gran Color Naranja said...

It's got to be even scarier that the Braves have pulled back a little bit on a Betemit deal. Can Pokey "I once was too valuable to be traded for Ken Griffey, Jr." Reese be far behind?

At 3:03 PM, Blogger tmk67 said...

This team has so many holes and such a thin farm system, the very thought about trading for a back-up infielder is frankly ludicrous! Bringing in AAAA players like Betemit or retreads like Pokey or Baerga do nothing to build the team long-term.

Should we have the Fan Club buy Bowden a copy of Baseball Prospectus? Even a quick perusal reveals better Brave prospects than Betemit that might be available if the Braves have their eyes on one of our arms (like Rauch). Talk about Gregor Blanco (3B, young and walks), Brian McCann (a catchter that can hit, or J.C. Holt (college 2B). All project better better than Betemit.


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