Thursday, December 16, 2010

What's Up With Tom Gorzelanny?

Why is Tom Gorzelanny seemingly getting pushed out of the Cubs clubhouse?  He's still relatively inexpensive, left-handed, and actually sort of good.  Does Mike Quade not like him?  How about new pitching coach Mark Riggins?  Gorzelanny came up in the Pirates system, so he doesn't have a long history with Quade or Riggins, who were the Cubs AAA Manager and Minor League Pitching Coordinator, respectively.

Dear Jim, please blame
the media for this one.
Perhaps, the media is creating all this buzz, and Jim Hendry has no intention of trading him.  As a fan, that's what I'm hoping, but the murmurs have been ongoing for months.

With the impending signing of Kerry Wood, talk has already begun that Andrew Cashner will be moved into the rotation as Kerry takes his spot in the bullpen.  At this time, though, giving up on Tom Gorzelanny just doesn't add up.

Tom Gorzelanny made his first impact on Major League Baseball in 2006, when he started 11 games for a not good Pirates team.  The southpaw has had difficulty with control throughout his career (4.15 BB/9).  At times, especially in 2007, Gorzelanny could be effectively wild.  That year, he went 14-11 on another terrible Pirates team that lost 94 games.

The major X-factor in Gorzelanny's career has been his ability, or inability, to limit Homeruns.

Tom Gorzelanny (HR/9 ~ ERA)
Good times are ahead
for Tom Gorzelanny
2006: 0.44 ~ 3.79
2007: 0.80 ~ 3.88
2008: 1.71 ~ 6.66
2009: 1.15 ~ 5.55
2010: 0.73 ~ 4.09

2008 was a disastrous year.  He spent considerable time back in AAA in '08 and '09 before the Cubs traded Josh Harrison, Jose Ascanio, and Kevin Hart for him and John Grabow.

Although Gorzelanny struggles with his command and does not strike out very many batters (Career 6.63 K/9), he is a valuable player.  Fangraphs values his career contributions at $23 million dollars, yet the most Gorzelanny has ever made was $800,000 last season.  This year, through arbitration, he'll likely get a 2011 salary in the $3 million range.  Not bad, when compared to league average (or worse!) veteran pitchers making eight figure salaries, think of Randy Wolf, Derek Lowe, Bronson Arroyo, etc.

Tom Gorzelanny will turn 29 around next year's All Star game.  For a left-handed starter, I'm pretty sure this is just around the time he's going to enter his prime.  Instead of trading Tom Gorzelanny, why aren't the Cubs buying out his arbitration years with a 3-year contract while teaching him to refine his mechanics to improve his control?  It seems so much more logical than hanging on to Carlos Silva or squeezing him out for Randy Wells or Andrew Cashner?  From this seat, the only rotation spots that should be relatively secure at the start of Spring Training should be those of Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, and Tom Gorzelanny.  Let Silva, Wells, Cashner, Jeff Samardzija, Thomas Diamond, Christopher Carpenter, and Chris Archer compete for the final two spots in the rotation.  Heck, trade for King Felix.  Do something disruptive!  This is basically coming out of nowhere, and I apologize for ranting at the Interweb.  It's just that I've been keeping it inside for too long, and we all know that's not healthy.

If you're going to rebuild, rebuild.  Blow it up.  Trade everyone.  Trade the veterans for anything worth more than the draft picks the team may get if they leave as free agents.  Trade Big Z, Dempster, Silva, Fukudome, Byrd, and Aramis.  Build up Carlos Peña's trade value and package him up.  Why are the Cubs treading water in 2011?

"I can't believe we're here, either!"
Why do we have to watch barely above average players come into camp as team leaders?  Why do they have to have a minor league manager and inexperienced pitching coach?  How could they let Rothschild just leave like that?  Are the Cubs in the business of winning, or not?  How can a new ownership group take over a franchise with a 102-year championship drought and justify a strategy that aims at respectability.  The Cubs need to be better that this.  Doesn't this new ownership group appreciate the fact that thousands of Cubs fans are dying every year without having seen their team even play in the World Series?  Doesn't that mean they should try to win at all costs?  I don't know about in your neighborhood, but in my neighborhood, a 102-year drought + New Billionaire Owners = Win At All Costs.  At least try to win, don't try to be a few games above .500.  Treading water in 2011 just leaves Cubs' decision makers keeping their seats warm for their replacements.


  1. Trade Silva, go with...

    Samardzija or Cashner or Diamond

    Go Cubs!

  2. bob says... the cubs wont spend any money for 4..or 5 years..the ricketts want to recover the 800 million they spent on the club frist... dont you get it?? they will continue to be lovable losers til you die...the ricketts suck!!!!!!!!!!