Wednesday, January 28, 2015
BYB HOT STOVE: VOLUME XII PITCHERS ON A BUDGET
Our focus again is on pitching and here is a run through of some pitchers who are available at a cheap price but could be helpful to any team in need of a pitching tune up (which frankly is most teams other than perhaps the Cubs and Nationals right now). Now let's preface that these pitchers have some dings on them for sure, some have deeper scraps and burns than others but according to Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors, they could have some value to teams in need.
Mike Adams is a 6'5"set up guy who was not that effective for the Phillies during his 12 million dollar contract, but he could be an interesting find for a team this off season. Specifically his strengths lie in strike outs and having an ERA under 3. Interesting find, if you want to invest in a 36-yea-old pitcher.
Next up is John Axford, who at 31-years-old could prove to be a find for a team in need of a late inning pitcher. He needs to work on his walks and long balls, but otherwise he could be an inexpensive investment in the hands of the right pitching coaches.
We could get peachy about Brandon Beachy who is only 28-years-old and has a life time ERA of 3.23 with only 46 starts for the Braves. Now, here is the glitch. He has had two UCL (Tommy John) surgeries. However, according to John Hopkins Medical Center, "Approximately 75-85 percent of athletes return to their previous level of competition following reconstruction of the UCL. Some baseball pitchers even report increased velocity after surgery. The average rehabilitation time for throwing athletes is about 1 year, but it may take up to 24 months for a patient to return to their previous ability level." And, I want to add that other pitchers are out there with small contracts with worse injuries than this. He, again, with the right pitching staff, could be a gold mine. Keep an eye out for this one.
Finally, our last pitcher profile goes to Chad Billingsley, who has also succumbed to Tommy John surgery. At 30-years-old, Billingsley could be a great right-handed starter again with a chance to make a comeback with any team that will take a chance on him. Interestingly enough, as we know, baseball is a game of chance and this may be a chance of a lifetime for both Billingsley and the right team.
I leave you here this week with an interesting thought and perhaps a future closer look in an upcoming post. All of these pitchers have something in common besides injury and second chance opportunities. They are people who need people to invest in them and not just financially, but emotionally and physically. A friend of mine is currently someone who I would say is the kind of influence you want on young people who are moving up the ladder in sports and in life. His name is Father Rob Hagan and he is the Associate Athletic Director and sports chaplain for Villanova University Athletics. His influence on student athletes is simply stated as "Often you are called to encourage the discouraged, to pass on wisdom you have learned to others,” says Fr. Hagan. And this is just what we need in the case of athletes like these and future teams who strive for success.
That's it for this week's Hot Stove of pitchers on a budget. Let's see what happens with these guys and others as February approaches.
--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer
BYB Hot Stove Columnist
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