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Thursday, December 23, 2004
Duke of Bridgeport

How would you like having a pitcher who put up this line on your staff?
W   L   GS    ERA

5 15 25 9.08
That's the cumulative pitching line accumulated by the mish-mash of AAA guys that the Sox trotted out to be sacrificed to the Major League Baseball gods every 5th day. Don't stare at it too long. It's ugly, and I can't guarantee your computer(or your eyes) will ever be the same again after extended viewing. Three of those wins came from when the sox were out of contention for all intents and purposes.

Needless to say, the #5 spot was a hole that the Sox have struggled to fill. Yesterday, Kenny Williams took a step towards filling that hole with the signing of the Methuselah-esque Orlando Hernandez. How KW was able to keep him away from Brian Sabean, I'll never know.

The cynic in me says that KW targeted El Duque because he had more wins last year(8) than the two best remaining candidates at the time, Odalis Perez and Wade Miller, who each had seven.

When comparing this year's original starting five with last year's, well, there's no comparison.
2004               ERA+      2005               ERA+

Buehrle 125 Buehrle 125
Loaiza 98 Garcia 116
Garland 101 Hernandez 116
Schoeneweis 92 Garland 101
Wright 81 Contreras 95
With the additions of Garcia, Contreras, and Hernandez it's clear the type of pitcher that KW is trying to build this team around. He's targeted guys who can get the strikeout, guys who miss bats. None of them have a spectacular G/F ratio, something that should be taken into account given USCF's recent renovation, but all have good "stuff" and strike guys out.

It remains to be seen where El Duque falls in the pecking order of the rotation, but it's fairly irrelevant. He's going to pitch every 5 days, when healthy, and it doesn't matter what number is attached to his side. The opposition doesn't care, and neither do I.

The Sox still lack an "ace"; but Contreras and Garcia have ace stuff, Buehrle does nothing but win despite his average stuff, and El Duque is one hell of a big game pitcher. I'd have no problem handing him the ball for game 1 of a post-season series, but that's getting way ahead of myself.

Career stats
              IP   HR  BB     K    ERA   G/F  ERA+

1998 141.0 11 52 131 3.13 .96 143
1999 214.1 24 87 157 4.12 .80 109
2000 195.2 34 51 141 4.51 .71 112
2001 94.2 19 42 77 4.85 .65 92
2002 146.0 17 36 113 3.64 .82 120
2003 84.2 9 36 84 3.30 .85 136
Career 876.1 114 304 703 3.96 .79 116
That G/F ratio is troubling, but at this point with the Sox actually having a 5th starter, who am I to complain.
- Guaranteed two years to an ancient pitcher with injury issues? Not gonna complain.
- $8M guaranteed? Not gonna complain.
It's been a long time since the sox weren't trotting out a t-ball stand of a pitcher every 5 days, so I'm just going to bask in this for a little bit and leave my reservations for another day.

Now if KW would just forge Timo Perez's birth certificate to make him 39 years old, so he could ship him off to San Francisco for prospects, I would be happy.