Would Jocketty Deal a Starter?

If you were in Waly Jocketty’s shoes and faced with dealing a starting pitcher, who goes?

With the winter meetings on the horizon, it’s a question and/or situation that could develop. Plus, Jocketty has already stated he will look to improve the team via trades and not so much through free agency.

I suggested (and it was that, only a suggestion) that Edinson Volquez could be the guy to deal due to a piece on Baseball America by Steven Goldman. I thought the idea wasn’t off the wall at all.

But one of BRM’s followers on Twitter had a different idea…and not a bad one either.

What about Homer Bailey? Called into question were reliability and consistency were major concerns. Both concerns are legit, too. We’ve seen that Bailey can have that seven-inning, two-hit effort and follow that up with a four inning hitfest. Same could be said for Volquez, too. Gotta string those “good outings” together.

We know that Bronson Arroyo, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake and Travis Wood are deemed untouchable in the trade market. That is, unless a deal comes along that there’s no way to say no. At any rate…

Here’s a peek at the Reds starters with 10+ starts last season.

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table

Generated 12/1/2010.

For this table, I’m mostly going to concentrate on the right side, WHIP and on out. The only item on the left that’s of any interest is age. Bailey is roughly two years younger than Volquez.

But look at those values on the right. For 2010, Bailey owned a better WHIP, BB/9 and SO/BB ratio. Volquez was better in H/9 and SO/9. No surprise here really. Bailey does have better control than Volquez. Holds true for their careers, too. A look at those numbers…


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table

Generated 12/1/2010.


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table

Generated 12/1/2010.

Over their careers, albeit, they are a bit short, the only number that sways into the favor of Volquez is WHIP. Volquez holds a 1.476 compared to Bailey’s 1.523. But Bailey’s WHIP has lowered the last two seasons while Volquez has seen his WHIP go upward.

And if you’re into WAR (Wins Above Replacement), over the last two seasons, Bailey has matched Volquez in that area. Both were 0.3 in ’09, 0.5 in ’10. Granted, there’s the issue of Volquez and his surgery to consider here. WPA (Win Probability Added)? During the last two seasons, Volquez posted a -0.22 in ’09, a 0.34 in ’10, and holds a -0.08 for his career. Bailey’s for the same two seasons and his career are 0.04, -0.10, and -1.74. Bailey is a tad more consistent…a tad, over the last two years.

The other factor is innings. Volquez almost hit 200 innings in ’08, his All-Star year. He couldn’t the last two seasons for obvious reasons. Bailey has never gotten close to 200 innings at the MLB level, but he did manage 200+ innings between Louisville and Cincinnati in ’09 (113.1 w/CIN and 89.2 w/LOU)

But here’s a couple of thoughts to ponder. If you trade Volquez, you’re trading the guy who had Tommy John surgery and the player you got for Josh Hamilton. If you trade Bailey, you’re trading the #7 overall pick in the 2004 amateur draft. Either way, those guys could think you’re giving up on them and sending them down the road.

I’ll add this to that last thought. We’ve seen it before and we’ll see it again. Sometimes it’s just a change of scenery that’s needed. That could be the issue more with Bailey than Volquez. Well, a lot more possibly for Bailey. Think about it. He has the pressure of being that #7 overall selection and performing to expectations. The Reds fanbase knows this. Volquez was an amateur free agent signed by the Rangers. Not as much expected.

So what’s all this boil down to? It just depends on your opinion. You have one pitcher that has one stellar season under his belt and two half seasons of ups and downs since joining the organization. The other, a prodigy (of sorts) that may never live up to expectations but appears to be heading in the right direction.

And even if something “drastic” were to happen, you have your cavalry with Sam LeCure and Matt Maloney.