• Don’t Let Pavano Fool You

    Posted by on January 26th, 2007 · Comments (9)

    From The Post

    After spending the winter in Phoenix working out with fitness guru Brett Fischer to reinvent his oft-injured body, Pavano takes the hill today for the first time since suffering a broken rib in an auto accident last August.

    However, Pavano said, “I know there is a lot of anticipation. I am willing to talk, but the Yankees want to do a conference call next week.

    “I just want to put this [garbage] behind me and talk about performance,” said Pavano, who hasn’t pitched in a big league game since June of 2005 when a right shoulder injury that didn’t require surgery shut him down. He missed all of last season with back, elbow and rib problems. “I am sure you are tired of asking about car accidents and broken ribs.”

    It’s interesting that this story is running today – because just last night I started to write something about Pavano here, and, I canned it because I did not want it to seem like I was trying to make news (by bringing up Pavano) on a day when there was no need to talk about a particular player. (Boy, I wish now that I saved it as a draft instead of just deleting it.)

    The upshot of what I started to write last night was around what was a reasonable expectation for a season’s innings pitched total from Pavano – based on his big league career to date.

    Getting more than 137 big league IP from Carl Pavano in a season is a rare thing. Sure, he posted 200+ IP in 2003 and 2004. However, it’s a much safer bet to expect less than 140 IP (in a season) from the Duke of the D.L, the Rajah of Rehab, the Prince of the Paycheck-Cashers, or whatever you want to call him.

    Based on what we’ve seen from Pavano, I would say there’s a 80% probability that he fails to make more than 20 starts in 2007 – even if he’s doing fine now and looks O.K. in the spring. (He’s only had 20+ starts in a season 4 times in his 9 year career.)

    The Yankees should not allow themselves to get any false hope around Pavano. This is a “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me” situation. Don’t be fooled Cash, this one, for sure, will be on you.

    Comments on Don’t Let Pavano Fool You

    1. baileywalk
      January 26th, 2007 | 10:25 am

      People probably think I’m insane for defending Pavano all the time (I swear it’s mostly because he looks like the guys I grew up with), and I am done defending him now, but but but…

      In 2003, Pavano threw 201 innings. In 2004, he threw 222 innings. In 2005, he was on pace to throw 200 innings again (he had 100 innings pitched on the head when he got hurt). He missed all of 2006.

      Pavano also threw 185 innings in AA one year.

      So early on in his career Pavano was too hurt to throw a lot of innings, but when he was healthy starting in ’03 he became an innings-eater. For all his struggles in ’05, he was still eating up innings again (and one of his starts was cut short after an inning because he got whacked in the head with a linedrive).

      So I’m not saying Pavano will stay healthy — I would NEVER say that — but I do think it’s reasonable that if Pavano stays healthy he can throw 200 innings. History shows us that when he’s actually capable of taking the ball, then he will pitch a lot.

      Why do I have any confidence in him staying healthy? Well, last year his injuries weren’t made up (like people believe about his shoulder injury in ’05). The bone chip was real, and the broken ribs were real. He continually tried to come back — throwing three minor-league games — but it just never happened. The end-all bad-luck situation happened when he crashed his car and broke his ribs.

      He also pitched AFTER breaking his ribs, which means he’s willing to pitch through pain — a good sign (obviously the embarrassment has gotten to him).

      Also, you can’t underestimate what it means to TRULY get into shape. Pavano obviously already worked out and kept fit, but really training with someone who creates a routine just for you and makes you work as hard as you ever did can change your body and mind. I’ve seen people completely change their bodies.

      Anyway, I’m going to keep the faith until Pavano lets me down again (which he has done so many times).

      My pie-in-the-sky projection for him is: 14 or 15 wins, 206 IP, 4.10 ERA, 210 hits allowed, a lot of ground balls, and hopefully not as many homers as he let up in ’05.

    2. January 26th, 2007 | 10:37 am

      ~~~if Pavano stays healthy he can throw 200 innings~~~

      Since he’s signed as a pro, in how many seasons has he stayed healthy?

    3. dave
      January 26th, 2007 | 11:14 am

      The plan I think is to talk Pavano up, get into spring and hope. They really need him for the April-May period, after that other options may become available: Clemens, Hughes, Sanchez and Ohlendorf.

      Also, if Pavano shows he is healthy and can regain some of his 2004 form he could be a valuable trading chip. $15 million for a season and 1/2 would be a bargain in the era of Gil Meche.

    4. Raf
      January 26th, 2007 | 11:14 am

      Well, at least he’s well rested…

      I’ve never doubted the veracity of his claims, or his desire to pitch. He’s injury prone, the way he’s always been.

    5. SteveB
      January 26th, 2007 | 11:43 am

      Trying to predict how many innings the guy is going to pitch, seems pretty pointless. Well he only pitched so and so many innings on average over the last few seasons so…. so what? Without knowing the specifics of his health, it’s just speculation. I agree that to assume he’s going to make 32 starts and not have a backup plan is insane, but it’s equally insane to expect that Pettitte will make all his starts and not have a back up plan. Or Mussina for that matter.

    6. January 26th, 2007 | 11:53 am

      Recently a story came out that all of the injury problems (well not the rib, but certainly the shoulder, back, and elbow) were due to his hip allignment. He was trying to pitch with one leg shorter than the other. Evidently they fixed the problem.

    7. January 26th, 2007 | 12:12 pm

      I guess his legs were equal when he was in the last year of his contract, 2004, because he had no problems then…

    8. brockdc
      January 26th, 2007 | 2:05 pm

      My ceiling for Pavano would be him pitching league-average quality into August and then getting shut down for the remainder of the season due to shoulder soreness or fatigue.

    9. rbj
      January 26th, 2007 | 2:29 pm

      My ceiling is Carl trips over his shoe lace on the way to the mound for his first start in spring training. Falls on his hand and breaks his wrist — out for the whole year.

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