Monday, February 12, 2007

Today, ESPN posted its article on predicting MLB's top rotation for 2007. Its choice of Boston seems OK to me; this time, there was no choice for worst rotation, unlike the previous hot stove articles. I've known what the worst rotation in baseball is for a few months, so here's a fine place to write about it!

First, let's take a look at the usual suspects -- Kansas City Royals, Seattle Mariners, Pittsburg Pirates and Tampa Bay Devil Rays -- and why they AREN'T the worst.

Kansas City: As questionable as the signing of Gil Meche may be, he's still young and has great potential. $11 million worth? Maybe not, but maybe so! Besides him, the Royals have some live arms (Zack Greinke, Jorge De La Rosa and Luke Hochevar) whom I've heard hype about at least once, and a few vets who were once decent (Odalis Perez, Scott Elarton).

Seattle Mariners: Overrated (or are they UNDERrated??) vets Miguel Batista and Jeff Weaver are joining, and even if people question their $8 million-or-so-a-year salaries, those are the same sorts of people who happily pay car loans for years at exorbitant interest rates, so what do they know? Regardless, these additions (plus untouchable 20-year-old Felix Hernandez) makes Seattle starters not-worst!

Pittsburg Pirates: It was a rough year for the Pirates, but a trio of promising young starters (Zach Duke, Ian Snell and Paul Maholm) all put in 30+ starts and got that first full year in the majors under their belts. The Pirates also dumped 6.60+ ERA guys Oliver Perez and Kip Wells, adding Tony Armas and Shawn Chacon.

Tampa Bay: Pretty close, but Scott Kazmir automatically makes this team at least one better than the worst. If he falters, at least the Devil Rays have a few guys who have at least have significant time in the majors, like Casey Fossum and Jae Seo.

So, while these teams may be in for a rough time, they all have bright, or at least a candle flame in a yawning abyss, spots. The one team that is doomed rotation-wise, though, is clear: the Washington Nationals.

Is it telling that three starters from last year (Livan Hernandez, Ramon Ortiz and the aforementioned Armas) have jumped ship? Or that the team dumped a bunch of other warm bodies in November? Or that the ace of the rotation is John Patterson, who made eight starts last year after getting wrecked by injuries? After him, there isn't even a mix of overrated veterans and promising-but-erratic prospects. The only guy I've even heard of is Billy Traber, a former Mets prospect who went to Cleveland as part of the Roberto Alomar deal back in the day. With him are the likes of Mike O'Conner (he went to George Washington in D.C., earning him a facebook fan group from that school and a special cheering section at RFK no doubt), Shawn Hill and Jason Bergmann, who may only be penciled in because they're just the guys who were starting at the end of the 2006 season (Hill made only six major league starts last year).

So, unless the young guys become Hudson/Mulder/Zito, the rotation is going to cause some to gouge their eyes out. At least they're all cheap (Patterson and the Nats went to arbitration Monday, though), and the rest of the team looks pretty promising. And with the Nationals finally having owners, it could be acceptable that the team is just treading water until the new ballpark opens. But without a doubt, our nation's capital is where to be to see the worst rotation in baseball in 2007.

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Blogger alex said...

Sorry for the hideous grammar mess that is the second paragraph!

Also, it turns out that Washington Post sports columnist Thomas Boswell has written something similar about the Nationals' barren starting rotation. Check it out here!

4:39 AM  
Anonymous Bee said...

Greinke counts as a live arm? 07 must be the year!

2:26 AM  

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