Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rizzo's Dumpster-Diving

"Fans" of Jim Bowden, such as there were, would invariably praise his ability to find diamonds in the rough. In Cincinnati, he got Pete Schourek on waivers, and he finished second in the Cy Young voting in 1995. He took a flier on damaged goods Ron Gant in 1995 and got an all-star season out of him. Same deal a year later with Eric Davis.

Here in DC, Jim's scrap heap finds were a little less charmed. Instead of all-stars and Cy Young candidates, we got Tim Redding and Odalis Perez. Technically Dmitri Young appeared in an all-star game, but only because no one else was any good on Bowden's third team in DC. Still, with few resources he found a few guys here and there who were worth the time.

Since Mike Rizzo's taken over, he's had more than a fair chance to show his own dumpster-diving skills, having inherited a disastrous roster--especially the bullshitpen.

So how's he doing? Pretty good, I'd say. Here are the tRA* numbers (subtract 0.40 and think of this as "deserved ERA") on the Rizzo scraps:
Kip Wells: 4.51
Mike MacDougal: 4.37
Ron Villone: 4.51
Julian Tavarez: 3.97
Logan Kensing: 7.31
OK, so Kensing was a bit of a clunker, although he has a respectable 4.16 tRA* going in AAA. And it's not like any of these guys are going to make people forget about Jim's legendary waiver-wire home runs during his salad days in Cincy.

Still, grabbing 4 out of 5 above replacement-level guys for basically nothing ain't easy. The sample sizes are small, but so far Rizzo's showing a bit of a nose for free talent.


John O'Connor said...

It's even better (or worse) than that.

Right now, Manny trusts only 3 1/2 guys in the pen -- MacDougal, Villone, Beimel, and Tavarez if he has to.

Two weeks before the seaosn started, none of thjose guys was in the organization, not until after the Rizz took the reins.

Bowden's entire bullpen turned out to be unreliable. Every one of them.

Mr. Mustache said...

Steven, I really think your next podcast should be a 3 way between John O'Connor (as co-host) and a guest.

Deacon Drake said...

If MacDougal's elbow doesn't explode, he's a steal. But I still feel he on the down side of his career and shouldn't be relied upon beyond his next appearance.

Beimel and Villone are as advetised: reliable, but lefty specialists that aren't too versatile.

The key is to have guys in the pen that can intimidate and throw strikes, and the Nats best group are the aforementioned. Bergmann, Mock, etc, are not bullpen guys. Closers are created, and while the Nats may feel comfortable with MacD, they should be looking for a better, long term prospect.

Whether that means stealing a guy like Qualls from Arizona or converting a failed starter... eight months until catchers and pitchers report...

Sasskuash said...

Deacon- Isn't that why they drafted Storen? Isn't he a guy who is (supposedly) close to an MLB-ready closer with experience and a good track record locking down the ninth? I don't think we need to spend money and/or prospects on a closer until Storen shows he cannot be the guy. I wasn't a fan of the pick when we drafted him, but now that we have him I don't think we should try to block his path.

Steven said...

The problem with the bullshitpen isn't that it's so hard to find decent RPs. It's really, truly not.

It's that Bowden vastly overvalued his in-house options based on small sample sizes. He saw Shell as a high-leverage guy. He saw Hanrahan as "problem solved" at closer. He saw Rivera as a lock for the 8th inning and didn't pay any attention to all the wear and tear on his arm. Hinckley was the LOOGY and Mock the situational righty and future closer/set-up guy. That was the plan, and he felt really, really solid with it.

Sadly, he was wrong on every single guy. Each one had some moments in 2008, but the body of work over their careers should have told you that none of the ought to have been counted on as more than a 6th or 7th guy. Maybe that's too harsh on Hanrahan, but even in his case he'd be a middle-guy for a contender at best.