(The opinions expressed in Catzs Corner are neither approved, spell checked, or condoned by the editors and blog lords at The Good Phight, but hey, that's what happens when you let the inmates loose in the asylum)
I'm about to probably shake a few apple carts here, but this is all hypothetical guys.
Last night, for 4 innings, Vance Worley was sensational. Through 4 innings, he baffled the giants to the tune of 0 runs on 1 hit, 0BB, and 7K's (5 looking). He didn't give up a line drive or a fly ball.
Then in the bottom of the 5th, the wheels came off, and by the end of the 6th inning, he had walked three batters and gave up a grand slam to Brandon Crawford.
He faced 8 batters that 6th inning, surrendering 5 runs, on 3 hits and 2 BB. At the time, my initial inclination was to blame Charlie for leaving him in too long, but upon some further review, I've found what I believe to be a pretty telling pattern here.
More after the jump.Before I get too much further I want to make a statement. I believe whole heartily that Worley is a top notch 3rd or 4th starter. He's cost controlled, young, and will only get better in time. I would venture to guess that there are 20 or so teams that would love to have him, and would be happy to pay for him in prospects, ML ready talent, etc.. His replacement would likely cost a lot more than he does, and many fans would be calling for RAJ's head if he dealt him. I don';t want to see him traded, but I'm starting to wonder if it's not the best option for the team, and Vance.
Sometimes you have to look at the better good of the team as a whole, when making decisions, and all of the pieces of the puzzle. If a manager doesn't know how to properly use an asset, but there's a different asset out there who fits better,maybe you have to make a change.
Here are the facts.
1. Worley's pitching style is dependent on getting called strike outs. because of this he tends to throw more pitches in fewer innings than a typical starter would. He's flirting with 100 pitches by the 5th inning more times than not.
2. Worley is dominant in virtually every start he makes the first time through an order. over 70% of his called strike outs come in the first 4 innings.of the 18 home runs he's given up as a starter, only 3 have come first time through, and just one of the 10 this season.
3. in 37 major league starts, he's reached the 7th inning only 11 times, or 30%. to put that into perspective, over the past two seasons, Hamels, Halladay, and Lee have reached the 7th in 80% of their starts. He has 1 career complete game, has reached the 8th inning only twice, and hasn't done so since July 20th 2011.
4. This season alone, in 16 games started, Worley has given up the lead between the 4th and 6th innings in 7 of the 10 games hes started that the phillies have lost. in all of those games hes had one bad inning where he faced 6 batters or more. in 6 of those games, the result was a home run.
5. of his 85 K's on the season, only 17 have come in the 5th inning or beyond. of those 17, just 9 have been backwards.
6. In 16 starts this season, Worley has been pulled mid inning ONCE.
What does this tell me? It's actually pretty simple. Vance Worley is a fantastic pitcher for 4-5 innings. But his style of pitching increases his pitch count to the point that by the 5th or 6th inning he's gassed, loses control, and can't be trusted to be effective.In addition, because of the way he pitches, this has less to do with stamina as it does with pitch count, meaning the only way he will ever be able to last longer than he has, is by altering his style to avoid the called strike out. because hes a strike out pitcher who doesn't miss bats, he relies on control and deep counts.
Now, if you know this information, then this basically means that Vance Worley should rarely, if ever pitch the 6th inning like he did last night. It also means that you have to have a solid set up arm ready to come in on nights he starts. otherwise, you run the risk of seeing the results like we did last night over and over again.
But based on how this team is made up, with three starters who go DEEP into games, does it make sense to allocate dollars to a decent 6th inning Chad Durbin type? I tend to think the answer is no, and so does the FO apparently. So instead, Worley trots out for the 6th and implodes on a regular basis. Mainly because Charlie has less faith in his bullpen than he does in Worley, even though Worley has shown his propensity for being done when he's done.
The other option, of course, should this pattern continue would be to turn Worley INTO that lights out middle reliever, the 2 inning 1 time through the lineup guy, who Charlie can count on. The issue with this though, is right now today, Worley ahs more value as a starter, both to us, and certainly to other teams. It's a last resort, pigeonhole demotion, that dooms his value down the line.
So the question becomes, is Vance Worley better off continuing to be misused here, or pitching on a team where he can go 5-6 and have a solid bullpen behind him? More important, is his cost controlled value in terms of what we could get in a trade more valuable to the Phillies, than the status quo? and are they better off with an innings eater in that role?
Either way there are a few things for certain. Vance Worley will never be an innings eater. Charlie Manuel will never have faith in a middle reliever over his starter. Charlie will continue to leave guys in too long, and has shown a history of not replacing his starters mid inning. So unless something changes, Vance Worley is doomed to have more starts like last night, with similar results, than not.
So maybe, JUST maybe, instead of dangling Shane, or Pierre, or Pence, or any of those guys with high salaries, or prospects, maybe we should be shopping Worley around, he's worth more than May, or Biddle, or Brown, or Vic, or to some teams, maybe even Hamels.Young, cheap, proven pitching is worth its weight in gold, and if he's not the right fit, it makes sense.
Would the Rangers trade Olt for Worley straight?
How bout the Angels? Would they give up Bourjos?
In that situation, can't you just take the 10mm your paying Vic, and in turn, go out and sign an innings eating starter for 6mm and a top quality reliever for 4? In the end, the dollars are the same.
The reality? I'd put the chances on Worley being traded or even shopped at less than my chances of finding $1,000,000 in my glove compartment box. Ain't gonna happen.
But it doesn't mean that it shouldn't happen. It's easy to doll out 140mm to keep Cole Hamels. it's gonna be a lot harder to figure out how to balance the roster with the commitments, and this might just be the best option.