On Tuesday, Rob wrote an article about some buy low starting pitchers the Yankees could take a look at. Being the absolute grouch that I am, I thought I’d say (again) why so-and-so doesn’t fit for the Yankees.
Rich Harden is a solid pitcher. He has a career 3.39 ERA, which comes in as a 131 ERA+. He has a career K/9 of above 9. His FIP is 3.58. He hasn’t yet turned 28 (he will on Nov. 30). All signs point to this guy being a mortal lock to be wooed by the Yankees. But, I think the Yankees would be wise to avoid this young, talented starter. Why? Harden hasn’t eclipsed the 150 innings pitched mark since 2004, which is also the last time he pitched in more than 26 games in a season. Aside from often missing time due to injury, Harden also works very hard during games–he averaged close to 18 pitches per inning in 2009 and doesn’t go very deep into them: he’s averaged 5.8 innings per start in his career, but that went down to 5.4 innings with the Cubs in 2009. Harden’s an injury risk who didn’t find the sixth inning much against N.L. Central lineups. I don’t think he’d have much success in the American League East.
Coming off a year in which he didn’t pitch at all, Ben Sheets is probably the best candidate out of the three, but I don’t think he’ll be brought in. I consider him the best candidate because he’ll probably come at the cheapest cost. Remember, he didn’t pitch at all in 2009, so his value is relatively unknown. Joe Pawlikowski of River Ave. Blues noted that Sheets may not be such a bargain after all. Regardless of his cost, I think the Yankees and Sheets will go their separate ways. Sheets’ injury risk may not be attractive to the Yankees and Sheets may want to go somewhere where a more guaranteed spot is available.
The third choice Rob touched on was lefty Erik Bedard. I’ve always liked Bedard. He’s got a great curveball and he misses bats (8.8 K/9 in his career). Like Harden, though, he’s a big time injury risk. In 2008 and 2009 combined, he pitched 30 games and 164 innings. It’s been noted, too, that Bedard is not a fan of the big stage and would prefer to stay in a small pond to do his pitching. If Bedard is healthy, he’s a very good pitcher. The problem is, he’s hasn’t been close to that since before late August of 2007.