Monday, February 11, 2008
According to reliable inside-sources on the Orioles Hangout message board, the Orioles have agreed to a contract with veteran starting pitcher Josh Fogg, which will be announced sometime this week.
But, after the Bedard trade was dragged out, I'm guessing that the Fogg signing will be announced sometime between now and Armageddon.
Fogg is a 31 year-old RHP, has a career ERA of 4.90 in the NL and doesn't strike out many batters. On the surface, he appears to be a younger Steve Trachsel. He'll get you about 170 inning a year and is pretty consistent.
You know what you're getting with Fogg. And that's the problem.
It's understandable that the O's want some insurance when it comes to their 2008 rotation. Even though they have a surplus of young arms that could easily fill out the '08 starting rotation, it's safe to have at least one guy who gives your bullpen a rest while giving you the average 6 IP and 4 ER each start.
But if the O's were going to sign a veteran SP like this, to eat innings and give the bullpen a rest, they should have been a little more creative.
For instance, Bartolo Colon is still a free agent. Now, he has been injured the last 2 years, limited to only 56 and 99 IP each year. So he's not exactly inning eating material right now. Colon has also looked horrible during the last 2 years, too.
But healthy, Colon gives you 200+ innings easy, and can be Cy Young worthy.
If the O's wanted to maximize their returns, while also insuring their young rotation, they could have signed Colon to a cheap, incentive-laden deal, hope he gets back to his old self, and then trade him at the deadline when the youngsters have had some time to get their feet wet and don't need the veteran leadership in the rotation anymore.
Worst case scenario, Colon is hurt or ineffective, fails to meet the incentives of the contract and sits out the rest of the season on the DL while the next young pitching prospect gets his shot. No harm, no foul.
With Fogg, you know he's going to give you a 5-something ERA. You know he's going to be mediocre enough to not get benched in favor of the next young pitcher who is waiting for his turn.
Fogg is also not going to get you a lot in return if you look to move him at the deadline. Granted, Andy MacPhail was able to squeeze the Cubs for more than we thought he could when he traded Trachsel to Chicago last year, but that was a magic act that likely can't be repeated. No, Fogg is likely here the entire season.
It's not horrible. But I would've just liked to see the O's think creatively here. This just reeks of "let's get the most mediocre guy we can get and see if the planets align for him". And when the O's appear to be changing for the better, it still hurts a bit to see them make a move like this, which was their M.O. over the last 8 years.
And for that, it seems like the O's aren't completely out of the Fogg just yet.