Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Take a Flier

Talk is rampant over at the Orioles Hangout that Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Claudio Vargas was released yesterday.

Vargas is a 30-year-old veteran starting pitcher with a career 4.95 ERA and 1.46 WHIP.

He's basically a younger, Dominican version of Steve Trachsel.

And one would think that since Trachsel projects to be terrible in 2008 that the O's would take a flier on Vargas, maybe even at Trachsel's expense. After all, Vargas is younger and still has more of a chance to pitch above his career averages than Trachsel at this point.

Vargas is no devourer of innings, having only topped 150 IP once, but Trachsel doesn't project to pitch more than 100 IP before he is yanked out of the rotation with a cane around the neck like a bad performer at a talent show.

He's going to be bad folks.

But the Orioles are in love with Trachsel's veteranosity, his intangibles. He's a leader and teacher of men, which is fine and dandy, but his Christ-like similarities end there. He can't walk on water and he throw a good curve ball, much less hit one. Besides, the only pitchers on the O's who are relatively inexperienced and in need of Trachsel's wisdom and guile are Adam Loewen and Randor Bierd. It's not like he's got a whole bunch of Young Life kids on a retreat to look after.

The O's should know better. It's severely unlikely that Trachsel pitches well this season, and it's also unlikely that he makes up for his suckiness by helping the other pitchers enough to warrant keeping around. Now, his mentoring ability can't exactly be measured, but I'm willing to bet that it's not going to make up for much of anything.

And that's why pitching coach Rick Ranitz was hired.

If the Orioles wanted Trachsel in the clubhouse they should have talked him into becoming a coach. Then they would have been able to take a flier on someone like Vargas.

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