Monday, August 18, 2008

Sign A Maddux, Save A Kershaw?

Rob Neyer over at thinks that the Dodgers' signing of Greg Maddux isn't just Ned Colletti reaching back into his bag of tricks to pull out the same slight-of-hand routine he did back in 2006. No, Neyer posits that this deal may have been designed just to keep the pressure off phenom Clayton Kershaw (insider only; no link):

[T]he Dodgers already have the best pitching/defense in the National League; their 3.64 ERA is tops, and that includes Brad Penny's 6.05 mark in 94 innings. You can't really blame the Dodgers for not trusting Chan Ho Park, but in five starts he does have a 2.16 ERA with a fantastic K/W ratio.

And two, what happens if the Dodgers beat out the Diamondbacks? By most reasonable definitions, Maddux is now the Dodgers' fifth-best starting pitcher. Would management bump him from the rotation in October, in favor of 20-year-old Clayton Kershaw? Probably not, and that might actually be a stroke of genius. Before this year, Kershaw had never thrown more than 122 innings in one season. Right now, he's at 134 and counting. Figure seven more starts and he's up to 170-175 innings, which is about the most you'd want to see him throwing this year.

Maybe I'm giving Ned Colletti too much credit, but I wonder if the possible acquisition of Maddux isn't designed, at least in part, to save Kershaw's arm.

Yeah, Neyer probably is giving Colletti too much credit. After all, we're still givng away one and possibly two players (as of this post, it still wasn't determined who they are, and we can only hope that Andruw Jones is one of them). And the idea that Colletti and McCourt would willingly spend $2M on the chance that we should have to protect a young arm goes against the Dodgers' track records of fiscal parsimony as well as overusing youth (particularly when veterans are not available--see: Jason Schmidt). No, we signed Maddux because Brad Penny is injured, and McCourt finally figured out that playoff tickets = increased attendance revenues.

Let's just pray that we didn't give any gems away to get him.


Unknown said...

I like this trade, granted we gave up farm pieces with a similarly limited future with their current team. It not only adds depth to who starts, but also makes our good, but somewhat limited bullpen one spot deeper, especially when the rosters expand.

For example, yes Chan Ho would fill the 5 spot in the rotation nicely, but that would deplete our ability for long relief jobs like we got in Penny's last start.

Chad Fonville said...

I like this deal from the perspective of the influence of Maddux on the pitching staff - especially the young ones like Billingsley and Kershaw. They could all learn a lot from Maddux.