Thursday, November 03, 2005

Jimmy B! (Castilla Gets Traded for a Real Live Pitcher!)

I almost can't believe it, but ESPN is reporting that the Washington Nationals have trade Vinny Castilla, of the .723 OPS Castillas, to San Diego for right hander Brian Lawrence and - get this - cash.

Lawrence pitched 196 2/3 innings last year with a 4.83 ERA in spacious Petco Park. That pencils out to an ugly ERA+ of 80. However, there is plenty of hope for Lawrence. He's been a league-average to better-than-league-average pitcher the four years prior to 2005. He's a real innings-eater, racking up an average of about 203 innings over the last four years. He walks fewer than 3 batters per 9 innings pitched, and he actually decreased his home run rate in 2005, even while his ERA went up.

It should be noted further that Lawrence had the misfortune of starting 60% of his games on the road in 2005 (Oddly enough, he was the loser in a 1-0 game at Coors Field last year, the first of its kind at Coors). Assuming he starts 70% of his games in pitcher's parks next year, he should improve from pitching in the NL East.

No, Brian Lawrence is not the answer to the Nats' pitching problems. He's not a fly-ball pitcher, having racked up 1.4 or better ground-ball to fly-ball ratios in his career. However, he is a pitcher who can throw 200 major league innings from the 5th spot in the rotation while money is spent to fill the 3 and 4 holes.

More importantly, however, Lawrence represents the fact that Jim Bowden has accurately surmised that the future of the Nats at third base is Ryan Zimmerman, and there won't be any waste of at bats on Castilla next year. The fact that Bowden was able to get a real, live player for Castilla - who otherwise has no value - is something of a coup.

Now Jimmy B. can turn his attention to the position about 60 feet to the left of third base.


At 3:51 PM, Blogger I'm Moe Greene said...

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