Slow News Week
One pitcher who could be an M, one who couldn't, one who is



Gordon pointed out this article on James Paxton as "Air Traffic Controller."  

When batters did manage to get the ball into the air against him, their results were pathetic:  85 MPH average velocity ... only 26% hit hard ... a miniscule 5% "barrels" (good velo plus good launch angle).  This being All.  Year.  Long.  Each one of those stats is #1 among MLB starters, as are other stats like "average distance" and "average wOBA."  The fact is that when batters lifted the ball against Paxton, they simply lifted worse fly balls than against anybody else up to and including Clayton Kershaw.

That's not even to speak to the fact that hitters COULDN'T lift the ball against Paxton in the first place.  He had a 1.37 ground ball ratio.

And it's not even to speak tot he fact that they couldn't PUT THE BALL IN PLAY against him.  He had a 10.32 strikeout ratio.


And I'm here to tell you, gentlemen, that we have seen nowhere near James Paxton's best.  His control will improve, his changeup will improve, his ability to throw his yakker for strike will most certainly improve ... and half the time he pitched in 2017, he was trying to get back in synch from the DL.



Sodo Mojo, one of the best Seattle websites, posted this article emphasizing Brittany Arrieta's twittering about the Arrietas "exploring" the city of Seattle.  

Okay, no cheering in the press box you say?  Two can play that game.

1) "Seattle's a great vacation spot generally."  (?? - like who was the last sports celebrity to spend the winter "exploring" Seattle?! - Dr. D)

2) Arrieta is nowhere near as good as he was 2-3 years ago.

3) Scott Boras is going to want somebody to pay Arrieta as if he WAS.

4) Two words:  Jerry Dipoto.


In 2015, Arrieta parlayed a 95 MPH worm-burner and a Lackey-deep arsenal of secondary shtick into --- > a 22-6, 1.77 season that was every inch as solid under the surface as at it.

In 2017, Arrieta was down to 92 MPH (albeit with the same Felix-like backup stuff) and his FIP was up from 2.35 to 4.16.  His WAR was down from 7.3 to 2.4.  And both seasons were achieved in front of a terrific Cubs infield that matched his grounder ratio beautifully.  On the other hand, this (mortal) incarnation of Arrieta's weakness is to give up a dinger now and then, and Safeco is the R/X for that ailment.


All that said, Arrieta is a TOR with the 8+ strikeouts and the 2+ walks to go with it.  Very, VERY important is the fact that his velocity was rising in September; if a guy's sucking wind at the end of the season GM's get very, very nervous.

We know, we know.  Arrieta's a pipe dream and there's no cheering in the press box.  Funny, though, that the Arrietas are hanging around Marinertown.  :- )

Here is Part 2 of SodoMojo's shtick on Arrieta.  Hey, slow news week, right?  What harm can a quick read do?  



SodoMojo also did this piece on Timmy.  If you're behind the curve on this story, click the link --- > for the picture alone.  Slap me silly.  The kid put down the doobs and picked up the rubber powerbands.

Once in a while, a pitcher stops pitching for a year or two and the arm simply bounces back.  This happened to Bill Swift one year; he'd been out of baseball, wandered out back and tossed the ball against a wall and WOW!  His shoulder felt perfect!  No, really, that's what happened to Swift.  Dr. D fancies that's what happened, a little bit, to Justin Verlander after that light year in 2015.

:: shrug :: It can happen, every now and then.  Lincecum was throwing an 87 MPH fastball in 2015-2016, was out of baseball in 2017, and if he can now throw 91 MPH then major league GM's will know about it.  So will major league hitters, because when he has an average fastball the man is a very good pitcher.


Dr D



Is it Lincecum that could be an M?  I have trouble figuring which one is more likely to happen.  Something recently familiar about not counting chickens that I can't quite put a name to.  From what I've seen Lincecum wants to go back to SF but what I see isn't always accurate.  SF has to want him but why wouldn't they?  I imagine an incentive laden Minor league contract is what he'd get in most places anyway.  If someone was sure enough to offer more and the Giants wouldn't that might make the difference.  Or maybe "Would you go back to SF?" answered "Yes." got turned into that being his preference.  Nothing seems granted in my current baseball state of mind. 

I can't rule out Arrietta although it seemed most improbable before the Christmas visit was shared.  Coincidence is still possible, I suppose.  It's also possible that discussions or an offer, however low, convinced him to check out the neighborhood.


Though everything about Arrieta and Timmy was tongue-in-cheek.  :- )  ... interesting observations about his wanting to return to SF, though, and I'm kind of encouraged by your sense that Arrieta's trip to Seattle could be suggestive.

As much of a Stars & Scrubs guy as I am -- love love love the addition of anybody who can WIN GAMES FOR US YA MOOKS -- I can't help being a little worried about Scott Boras, Jake Arrieta's decline, and whether we *should* be glad about an Arrieta signing even if it were feasible.  Even Dr. D would have to be sold on Jake Arrieta, a little bit.

Perhaps there's a scenario where the entire industry is "hip" to Arrieta's decline and Boras has to make some big adjustments, fast.


Arrieta's decline would be immediate and instant the second he stepped onto the Safeco....wait....peroria grass........... 

Not signed by the M's he'll win an cy young next year......


Sure would be nice to have that extra arm in the rotation though! 


The standard Silva's we've seen and even Smyly last year never approached the height of Arrietta though.  Gallardo's career best 4.6 WAR 2010 was topped in 14 and 15 by Arrieta, 5.0 and 7.3.  Well I guess Felix had a pair of 6.1 behind a 6.2 WAR 2009.  Per Fangraphs.  You can check BR and find different numbers that still shows Arrietta in 2015 is better than any season of Felix.  5.9 H/9, 0.4 HR/9, 1.9 BB/9.  I think Paxton could do something like that.  But Arrietta shouldn't be cliff bound at 31 is my point.  The guys who have fallen off here have all had less room to fall.

I think Dipoto would only go so far, in fact I haven't seen him go far at all for a Free Agent here.  If Arrietta were signed it's probably at a reasonable contract that's value is easily attainable or self fulfilling.  Maybe not though. 

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