This morning’s Enquirer says the Reds are still looking for a #1 starter.

There are three free-agent starters in Morris’ class:

Kevin Millwood. He went 9-11 for the Cleveland Indians, but he led the American League with a 2.86 ERA.

Jarrod Washburn. The left-hander was 8-8 with the Los Angeles Angels with a 3.20 ERA.

Jeff Weaver. He was 14-11 with a 4.22 ERA with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

All three are clients of Scott Boras, so they’re not likely to take less than top dollar.

Scott Elarton (11-9, 4.61 ERA with Cleveland) and Jason Johnson (8-14, 4.54 with Detroit) are also still on the market and would be cheaper

Taking a quick look…

Morris was 30, with a 116 ERA+, with 8 years experience and 1377 IP, and a 1.27 WHIP.
Millwood, 30, 114, 9, 1559, 1.24
Washburn, 30, 114, 8, 1153, 1.27
Weaver, 29, 99, 7, 1396, 1.32

The next level, according to the article:
Elarton, 29, 89, 7, 898, 1.40
J.Johnson, 31, 91, 1212, 1.47

By comparison:
Claussen has an ERA+ of 93 with a WHIP of 1.50
Harang 96 and 1.38.

So, it appears to me that Millwood or Washburn would be about equal to Morris; but Weaver and Elarton and Johnson are comparable to Claussen and Harang, only older. Clearly not the #1 starter the franchise says its looking for.

If I had my choice, I’d hope they sign Washburn, as he’s a lefty.

9 Responses

  1. Ken

    I would take Washburn, but probably not at the price Boras is asking. Washburn is solid, but has been somewhat injury prone the last two years and doesn’t strike out a lot of guys (94 in 177 IP last year).

    Weaver is durable and gets high strikeout totals, but gave up 35 HRs last year. Coming from that ballpark, that could translate to some Milton-like #s at GABP. Milton has fared poorly in smaller parks (Philadelphia). Bottom line, none of them are worth a large four-plus year investment.

  2. Brian B.

    “I would take Washburn, but probably not at the price Boras is asking.”

    Me neither, but at this point in the off season, Boras has us by the balls. We could not sign one of them at all and have no #1 starter and “save” $11 million or so. Or we can put another $3 million on top of the $8 they are looking to drop anyway. The fact that we’re now talking Boras-money is DanO’s fault for waiting this long.

    Unless of course we’re expecting DanO to pull a big Dunn-for-pitcher trade. If that happens though, then losing Boras-money is the least of our problems.

  3. Ken

    Boras has the leverage now, but new opportunities will arise once the season begins. Or next off-season. If the committment to someone like Washburn was only two years, I’d think about taking the plunge. But risking yet another multi-year SP bust is something I’d like to avoid.

  4. LVW

    I’m sensing a pattern here………….sign Washburn and we’d have 4 lefties in the rotation.

  5. Bill

    Not unless Harang starts throwing with the other hand. 🙂

  6. Bill

    But Ken, how many pitchers aren’t a risk? There are very few “sure things” when it comes to pitching, what…maybe 10 in all of MLB? You have to measure risk/reward. Yep, they got bit with Milton, but I think that could have been predicted.

    Unless you’re willing to wait to see how the young pitchers develop, you’re going to have to either a) trade a big offensive part of your ballclub (i.e. Dunn) or b) take a risk on a free agent pitcher and anyone that has any reasonable chance of success is going to be expensive.

  7. Ken

    True, the risk with pitching is always there. What I didn’t articulate earlier is that the risk for Millwood, Washburn or Weaver is probably not worth their price tag. I’d rather make no decision than a bad one. With our payroll, a bad decision putting us on the hook for $30+ million would be very crippling.

    But since we need pitching, I’d rather take a risk on a younger pitcher via trade, as we did in ’03 with Harang and Claussen. Giving up Kearns or Pena for a young SP with promise would help our pitching more than it’d hurt our offense, assuming the SP worked out. Of course, if he didn’t, then we’d lose a productive OF. But with all that said, I’d rather lose a productive OF, which can be replaced fairly easily, than be on the hook for a Boras contract.

  8. LVW

    Speaking of young pitchers to take a chance on, how about someone like Byung Hyun Kim…….at 27 in 2006 he’s still relatively young and in 2005 he had a 4.37 ERA as a starter(pitching in Coors).

  9. JdRedsfan

    I think Kim would be a great pick-up if he is cheap enough