Wednesday, July 9, 2014
WHY I'M NOT SOLD ON BRANDON MCCARTHY
I have been sitting and stewing over this trade for 3 days now, and I still just don't like it. I hear some people jumping up and down for joy that Vidal Nuno is gone and I get it....he didn't do his job and we needed a change. Some people think this is already a good move because he is gone, well I am not ready to throw a celebration parade just yet.
No offense to Brandon McCarthy because he really is a smart guy and I have read a lot of articles on him and about his approach he has taken over the years but I just don't think he is our answer. In my eyes, this trade is a wash. Sure we gained a harder throwing pitcher because he definitely has more gas than Nuno, but to say he has struggled this year with the Arizona Diamondbacks is an understatement.
Look, stats can tell you a lot of things about a player, but McCarthy has been playing in my backyard since 2013 so I am familiar with him. I have watched him many times and I have come to conclusions that a stat on baseballreference.com isn't going to describe well. I have SEEN how he has earned that 5.01ERA and 15HRs allowed. Those 15HRs are the most he has allowed since 2006 when he was with the White Sox and even back then he only gave up 17 for the year. Clearly, he is going to surpass that. He has already given up 61 earned runs this year, he gave up 68 last year with the Diamondbacks. Yet another record he is on pace to break. Right now he has a 3-10 record on the season which is right on track with his 5-11 record from 2013. His best years are behind him, and this isn't exactly an upgrade for us.
Not to take anything from McCarthy's career because he has had some great success, but that was back in 2011 and 2012 when he was playing for the Oakland A's. During this time he really adapted the beliefs of Bill James and Sabermetrics. If you are a Moneyball freak like I am, you know what that means. He really reinvented his game and added a cutter and a two-seam fastball to his pitching arsenal that helped him focus on keeping the ball on the ground. This helped him keep the ball in the park, and cut his walk rates in half. His best years were with the Oakland Athletics, and after that he became a Diamondback where suddenly he turned into a completely different pitcher.
There is no doubt that he had the most success in Oakland, and when McCarthy came to Arizona in 2013 fans here were crazy over this guy. They were in love with him and were already calling the World Series here. It was a pre-success parade here. McCarthy's mechanics quickly deteriorated and he became injury prone. Despite pitching in a more pitcher friendly ball bark the home runs started to take over and the ground balls disappeared. When he did get the ground ball, the very poor Diamondbacks defense would usually botch an easy play that should've been made. He has been a victim of bad pitching and bad defense and in a much more pitching friendly league. I'm sure you can see where I am going with this.....
Some people say McCarthy is an upgrade, and he is not. The National League West is going to be a walk in the park compared to what he is walking into now. The parks there are bigger and they can be more forgiving to him now that he is more of a fly ball pitcher. If he is 3-10 in the NL West....how on earth can Brian Cashman think that is going to translate out in the American League East? I just cringe thinking about watching him pitch to say....Jose Bautista. Can you see that image? Not pretty. Especially not if it is in Yankee stadium because that ball is gone. Sure, he is a veteran arm and he could give us some more length which we desperately need right now but if he is serving up cookies in the game and our offense doesn't remember how to hit then we are screwed. Even if he gives us 6 strong innings (which is average for him) if he gives up 3 or 4 runs that could be too much for us to come back from.
I know Nuno wasn't exactly doing a great job but we made a trade for an injury prone pitcher who is holder, doesn't even eat enough innings and is going to add more insult to injury. We traded Nuno for a very similar but older pitcher. It doesn't make sense to me. If Cashman is trying to eat up innings and take on the workload that CC Sabathia would take on for instance, this again isn't the answer. Does the Yankee rotation need help? Absolutely. Were we in a position to compete for Jeff Samardzija or Jason Hammel? No, we didn't have anything to barter with but this is definitely a huge risk. It's not about giving up Nuno.....it's about trading for just as big of a concern.
So Cashman, I am really not sure what the heck you were thinking. I am not sure if you tripped and hit your head or if you really think McCarthy is the answer to our prayers, but I think you are crazy. I hope you prove me wrong, because if you don't....you have some serious explaining to do.
Welcome to the Bronx McCarthy, we are counting on you!
--Jeana Bellezza, BYB Senior Writer and Editor
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