NY Sports Dog: Warming to the Idea of Jon Garland

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Warming to the Idea of Jon Garland

Mets need pitching, and there just aren't a lot of options.

If I were King, my priorities would be, in order:

Oliver Perez: 4 years at $52M
Derek Lowe: 3 years at $42M
Jon Garland: 3 years at $25M (incentives to $30M)
Braden Looper: 2 years at $14M

That's my rack and stack and what I think would get the deals done. Unfortunately, there just aren't many quality FA starting pitchers out there this year.

You know why I only like those 4?

Innings--all four of these starters go out and put up at or near 200 innings year after year.

The rest of the FA list is all over the place--very up and down, with injury histories throughout.

The Mets should spend money smartly on someone who will be able to take the mound every 5th day...we were burned by Pedro, sadly, and it just puts a huge amount of pressure on a team when you have starters go down for any length of time. We see this all over baseball--Mark Prior, Carl Pavano and on and on and on. Losing a starting pitcher is one of the most damaging things that can happen to a team in the pennant hunt.

People mock inning counts, but to me it is one of the best measuring sticks for a starting pitcher.

A starting pitcher who goes 200 innings year after year after year is a very, very valuable resource--it takes pressure off the bullpen, takes pressure off of the other starters, and it keeps the team grinding throughout the long season by not disrupting flow and momentum.

How many times last year did the Mets go into panic mode because yet another unknown entity was taking the hill in a key game? How much pressure did it put on middle relief, and then the domino affect into the closers and even the offense?

So yes Mets fans, I'm warming to the idea of Jon Garland, much to the chagrin of several of my fellow bloggers.

Sure, he was semi-bad last year on a good team, but let's go back to his 2007 splits:

RH: .281 BA, .315 OBP, .426 Slg
LH: .259 BA, .321 OBP, .401 Slg

That's pretty good....and yes, he threw 208.3 innings with a 112 ERA+ in 2007.

And again, going back to my requirement for an innings-eater, he certainly fits the bill.

Over the last 7 years, he has started 33 games twice, and 32 games 5 times. During that stretch, his innings counts were:

193 IP
192 IP
217 IP
221 IP
211 IP
208 IP
197 IP

Let's bottom line this: 10.5% of all Mets starts last year (17 to be exact) came from Nelson Figueroa, Brandon Knight, Claudio Vargas, Jon Niese, Brian Stokes and Tony Armas.

The Mets must make a reliable innings-eating starter a priority. If not Derek Lowe, Jon Garland is the most reliable guy out there.

Pretty scary, no?

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