Saturday, December 25, 2004

Sorry, boys. Jose Lima signed with the team that witnessed his rebirth in 2003, the Royals. Oh well. Not like I really wanted him back anyway. Some folks over on AstrosDaily have been saying we'd be crazy NOT to sign him, and that's a bunch of bull. He's a fly ball pitcher and still gives up a lot of homers, so he'd clearly not be a good fit with us.

But you know who would? DEREK LOWE. I posted about him earlier, half jokingly. But if we don't sign Beltran (and by association, Clemens) we'd need to somehow acquire an above-average starting pitcher to even think about contending. Of course, we'd need a centerfielder as well, and a Lamb-for-Cruz deal would rock, regardless of Beltran's status.

Lowe would be a great fit. He's an extreme sinkerball pitcher, which would translate well with our stadium and defense. Of course we'd have to sign the right Derek Lowe. The 21-game-winner-including-a-no-hitter Derek Lowe. The win-all-three-deciding-games-of-each-playoff-series Derek Lowe. Not what came in between. Here are his stats for the past three years. Take a deep breath.

2002: 2.58/ 0.97/ .211/ 219.2/ 166/ 48/ 127/ 63/ 12
2003: 4.47/ 1.42/ .272/ 203.1/ 216/ 72/ 110/ 101/ 17
2004: 5.42/ 1.61/ .299/ 182.2/ 224/ 71/ 105/ 110/ 15

Yes, it looks bad. Yes, it might seem stupid to spend $8 million this guy. But the past two years are not as bad as they seem. Here's some good news: He's only given up 32 homers in those two years. Jamie Moyer gave up FORTY-FOUR just last year! Milton gave up 43! Colon and Darrell May served up 38 apiece. Maddux and Morris each coughed up 35. Buerhle and Vazquez both gave up 33. And our boy Lima served up 33. In Chavez Ravine! Now that is scary. Oswalt, by the way, led the Astros with 17. Yeah.

But back to Lowe. Obviously, he sucked it up big time in '03 and '04. But some of that could be attributed to that blister problem. Remember when he kept bleeding all over his pant leg but refused to be taken out? I think that blister may have taken something off of his rotation or something. Either that, or hitters started being able to read his fastball. My boy Cranston tells me Lowe's fastball (though only 91 or 92 mph) has got the most movement on it than any other pitcher he's seen. It's true.

Remember how he came in to save Game Five of the 2003 ALDS against Oakland? And struck out lefty pinch-hitters Adam Melhuse and Terrence Long BOTH LOOKING with the bases loaded? How those fastballs started sailing right at their hips? And how both hitters turned away, thinking they might get hit? And how the fastballs tailed back right over the inside edge of the plate? And how Lowe pounded his fist on his crotch in the general vicinity of the Oakland dugout? I do.

His career numbers aren't bad. A 3.88 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. Twice as many Ks and BBs. Only 80 homers in 1090 IP. I think all he needs is a change of scenery and some blister-repellent. Sign him up.

No comments: