• Calling On Dr. Moose?

    Posted by on December 26th, 2007 · Comments (8)

    Ben at River Ave. Blues ponders “Can Mike Mussina be league-average?

    Just the other day, I was reading the Bill James Handbook 2008 and Mussina’s Component ERA last season caught my eye – and it made me wonder (as well) if Mike could be better in 2008 than he was in 2007.

    But, for Moose, in 2008, I think the key is his age. He’ll be 39 years old next season. I did a quick look at RH-pitchers who were 39-or-older, in the A.L., since 1973, to see how many qualified for the ERA title and had an ERA+ of 100 or better.

    The only guys to make the cut were somewhat hard throwers like Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Curt Schilling and Roger Clemens, or, guys who doctored the ball like Don Sutton, Gaylord Perry and Dennis Martinez, or, guys who were knuckle-ballers like Charlie Hough, Tim Wakefield and Phil Niekro.

    We know that Mussina does not have much of a fastball left. And, we know that he doesn’t throw a knuckler. So, what’s left?

    It’s simple: if the Yankees are hoping to get an average, or better, season from Mussina in 2008, let’s hope that Santa stuffed Moose’s stocking this Christmas full of stuff from Black & Decker.

    Comments on Calling On Dr. Moose?

    1. DownFromNJ
      December 26th, 2007 | 3:25 pm

      See, I read this and think: Mussina should start doctoring the ball! Hey, it worked for Whitey.

    2. baileywalk
      December 26th, 2007 | 3:44 pm

      Well, I’m not sure how valuable this solution is, but if you want a league-average (or better) year out of Mussina, when you stick him in the rotation to give Hughes or Joba a start off, put him in against young, inexperienced, jumpy teams like the Royals. Even at 38/39, Moose can school kids or overanxious hitters. That might not be fair to Hughes and Chamberlain, taking away easy wins, but it’s one way to make sure Moose gives you decent innings (I’d rather him give six good against the Royals than two bad against the Tigers).

      The other thing is to get the guy a lot of rest. He should almost be on the same schedule as Hughes and Joba. He showed these last few years he can’t last the whole season, and he is stronger if you let him get extra rest.

      I said it before and I’ll say it again: used properly, Moose will be a value addition to the team, giving them decent starts in place of two young starters who had innings limits.

      I believe enough in Girardi and his staff to work this out.

    3. MJ
      December 26th, 2007 | 5:27 pm

      The other thing is to get the guy a lot of rest.
      But he chafes if he’s not out there every fifth day. And when he chafes, he loses focus and gets bombed.

      I believe someone said on this site that even a pea in his pillowcase and he’s thrown off his game.

    4. Rich
      December 26th, 2007 | 7:29 pm

      Moose is reportedly weight training this off season after years of resisting the Yankees’ entreaties. Maybe it adds a mile or two to his fastball and changes the calculus.

    5. Raf
      December 26th, 2007 | 9:48 pm

      But he chafes if he’s not out there every fifth day. And when he chafes, he loses focus and gets bombed.
      Seemed to do ok with the extra rest last season.

    6. December 26th, 2007 | 10:05 pm

      Moose pitched better on 5+ days of rest than he did the normal 4 (~5.00 vs. 5.35). not a big sample (or a big difference) but it was real – he also threw harder (iirc) after getting a lot of rest (about 91 mph).

      like i analyzed, it’s really not hard to go with a 5.5-man rotation, with Moose, Joba and Hughes getting skipped now and then. it would put them on par for 4 stars/month, Kennedy 5, Wang & Pettitte 6. if they all avg. 6 ip/start, that puts them on pace for 144 (Moose, Joba, Hughes), 180 (kenedy), 216 (Wang, Pettitte). perhaps with an occasional relief appearance between starts, it keeps them all below their limits.

    7. December 26th, 2007 | 10:11 pm
    8. Raf
      December 26th, 2007 | 10:55 pm

      We’re all making the critical assumption that the rotation will all be healthy and effective.

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