Nationals Baseball: Why the Nats won't be signing Javy Vazquez

Friday, November 19, 2010

Why the Nats won't be signing Javy Vazquez

In recent days we've heard the names Jorge De La Rosa and Carl Pavano floated out as potential rotation fillers if the whole Cliff Lee thing somehow doesn't work out (as if!). This seems kind of strange because the talk has been about getting a "true #1" kind of guy and these two don't seem to be much better than the two rotation fillers the Nats have now, Jason Marquis and John Lannan. Take a look at the average numbers :

Marquis (2007-9) : 4.37 ERA, 1.403 WHIP, 0.8 HR/9, 4.9 K/9
Lannan (2007-9) : 3.91 ERA, 1.359 WHIP, 1.0 HR/9, 4.6 K/9
De La Rosa (2008-10) : 4.49 ERA, 1.385 WHIP, 1.0 HR/9, 8.9 K/9
Pavano (2009-10) : 4.39 ERA, 1.280 WHIP, 1.1 HR/9, 5.7 K/9

That's pretty similar right? You could be worried about the injuries to Lannan and Marquis but take a look at these post break 2010 numbers:

Marquis : 4.29, 1.510, 1.3, 5.0
Lannan: 3.42, 1.244, 0.9, 6.2

While there are some vagaries in there (Marquis first two hideous starts are counted - he was much better after that, Lannan seems to be over his head in the strikeout dept) it does seem like these two should be able to at least match their 3 years averages noted above.

You can't be betting on youth with De La Rosa and Pavano, they aren't young. You can't be betting on the anti-Coors field effect with De La Rosa, he was roughly the same on the road as at home the past 3 years. I initially thought was they were intrigued by De La Rosa's pure stuff (that 8.9 K/9 is nice), and Pavano's superior 2010. But De La Rosa has always had stuff and it's never come together and he's 30 years old, that doesn't seem like a smart bet. Pavano is 35 and spent the good part of his major league career on what amounted to the best worker's comp deal you'll ever see. Not that either would be a terrible pick-up but it was hard to see exactly what they brought to the table that the Nats were interested enough in to mention them by name. Then I saw the groundball numbers

De La Rosa - 52.3% of the balls put in play off of him were groundballs in 2010
Pavano - 51%

Both these guys were heavy ground ball picthers in 2010. If you were to rank all pitchers with 120 IP or more (120IP to get De La Rosa in there) De La Rosa would be 15th and Pavano would be 19th. That's up there. Rizzo is sticking to his "defense first" guns. (which makes the Uggla flirtation so confusing - maybe he'd put him at first?) Last year he brought in Marquis (55.6% in 2009), and Wang (53.3% 2009), while ignoring Garland and Davis, both flyball pitchers. He's always made known his love of Webb (career 64%). This is the type of team he wants. Pitchers that keep the ball in play so a great infield defense can go after it.

Obviously this is bad news for Dunn lovers. If there were any out there with hope that he will be back, forget it. I think now more than ever, it's very likely that the "deal" offered to Dunn wasn't anywhere near market value. It's also bad news for those that want the team to take a gamble on Javy Vazquez. His GB% was 35.5% last year and career-wise he usually didn't get past 40%. That's not the type of pitcher Rizzo wants.

Now to be sure, Rizzo won't pass up a bargain on anything. He did eventually take that minor-league flier on Livan, a fly ball pitcher, and he did sign him for next year on an incentive-filled 1 million dollar deal. However, I wouldn't hold my breath on Rizzo offering a fair market price to anyone who doesn't force the opposing bats to drive balls into the dirt. Lee, Webb, De La Rosa, and Pavano probably make-up the entire population of potential new Nats starters for 2010.


Dave Nichols said...

good work. de la Rosa's combo of grond balls and Ks make him out to be a lefty Webb-lite. Hard to see Rizzo going four years on him like he's asking thus far.

David said...

Lee, Webb, De La Rosa, and Pavano.... except trades... for Derek Lowe

Harper said...

DN - I'd go more "Webb-ish". Generally he's a little off Webb's pace in stats (ok a lot off his GB pace but so is almost everyone) but de la Rosa flirts with being a power pitcher more than Webb ever did.

I don't see the Nats going 4 years with anyone but a star.

David - Ah Lowe - forgot to tie this back to trade for a #1 guy scenario. You're right. That's exactly the kind of guy Rizzo wants. The contract is high but a Lowe for Willingham swap? I can see that and while the Braves may ask for a little more they aren't going to necessarily want a major league ready MI or C, which means most likely the Nats are tossing them a pitcher. As long as it's not ZNN does anyone care who it is?

Donald said...

In regard to "as long as it's not ZNN does anyone care", I think I'd throw Storen and maybe Burnett into that group of people I'd like for us to hold. If I'm an opposing team looking at the Nats pitchers, I think my wish list would be:
Strasburg (not gonna happen)
Zimmermann (hopefully not gonna happen)

What order would you have?

Hoo said...

There's a fair bunch of pitchers I'd hold onto in a potential trade for Lowe. Why trade anyone who can be a + in 2012 for a guy who turns 38 next year.

Lowe doesn't seem worth more thanTatsuko, Roark etc as a throw-in. But then again, I don't get why the big push is right now for a #1 other than joining the Cliff Lee chase.

I'm still bewildered by Rizzo's proclamation of going after a #1 starter. I'll be stunned if we get a real #1. Maybe he thinks there's only the core fanbase left so a Free agency of losing Dunn for a Pavano/injured rehab case won't be a blow to the fanbase.

BTW, I like de La Rosa the most out of any of those guys. If he signed, I'd consider the FA a solid one.

BTW #2: Ate a Rub's in Raleigh for BBQ. Pretty good stuff. Ate at another place near Charlotte which was not so good.

Harper said...

Donald - of those guys? Obviously Stras, ZNN (anyone different is insane) then I'd have Storen, Lannan, Detwiler, Burnett and Clippard, but Lannan is my favorite National so it's not exactly unbiased.

Hoo - because most prospects turn out to be nothing, Lowe is the bird in the hand, these others are bushers. (plus I see nearly any reliever as a throw-in)

Why the #1 push? There's probably real concern Strasburg won't be back AND good next season, and without that you are gambling a decent season on ZNN maximizing his talent. Else you've got nothing more than roster filler. His first season in control I imagine he wants some marked improvement.

BTW - I'd have to see how the contracts pan out, but I like Webb injuries and all. He did what you hope De La Rosa will do.

BTW - the only Rubs I know of I thought was changed to Smokey's. kind of near the airport. I'd go Backyard BBQ Pit in that general area but that's toward Durham rather than Raliegh. As for Charlotte, once you get past Salisbury on I-85 it becomes a BBQ wasteland. Given the population I have no idea why. Personally I'd guess because Charlotte as a city has no soul. Or maybe too many palates were ruined by the proximity to SC mustard based BBQ.