The pitchers are underperforming, and someone needs to be held accountable. To me the major question is whether the main culprit is Righetti, Felipe Alou, or Sabean.
Note that the pitching problems didn’t become critical until: 1) Felipe took over, and, 2) Sabean made a bunch of horrific pitching-related transactions (trading Nathan, letting Worrell walk, trading Ortiz and Livan, etc.). The Giants have been jerking guys in and out of the rotation all year long, and that rests with Felipe, not Rags. Plus they’ve been shuttling guys between SF and Fresno at a furious rate, and that’s Sabean, not Rags.
Bottom line: Felipe and Sabean appear incapable of making firm decisions about which pitchers should be on the roster, and what their roles should be. And in Rags’s defense, pitchers such as Schmidt, F. Rodriguez, and Worrell pitched far better upon joining the Giants than they ever had before.
I’m not saying Rags is an innocent by-stander in all this, but I think there’s plenty of blame to go around. But as to who will lose his job over this, the answer is: Can Rags fire Alou and Sabean? Rags will surely be the one whose head will roll. This probably won’t hurt the staff, but I’m skeptical that things will improve much.
The sorry state of the 2005 pitching staff lay in the quality of the personnel and the lack of overall organizational philosophy. How can we blame Rags for the physical shortcomings of our pitchers? This is a personnel issue and that blame lies squarely on the shoulders of Sabean. Sabean gave Woody a two-year extension. Sabean traded for Latroy Hawkins. Sabean gave a risky contract to a fat and out of shape Benitez. Sabean traded away Ortiz to save a mere $2 million. Sabean rushed Foppert back this year before the kid got his control back.
Rags is who he is. He’s a ‘player’s coach’ – someone who can easily command the respect of his protégés because he used to be such a major league stud. I don’t think he’s huge stat head like a Dave Duncan. Rags is not a scientific physiologist like a Rick Petersen. Nor does he carry the organizational weight of having a stellar track record developing young pitchers a la Leo Mazzone.
Rags fits the mold of the Giants past two managerial regimes. He is, in fact, the only holdover from the Dusty Baker managerial team. All the managers and coaches are and were player’s guys. While one can argue the merits of having popular players coaches and the feel good atmosphere they foster, managers and coaches that bring an overall organizational philosophy can foster success whether or not a team’s personnel is good or lacking. Teams like the Twins and Braves maintain a consistent level of high performance because of winning philosophies of player development. The Giants’ complete lack of such a philosophy is totally Sabean’s fault and no one else’s.
One old reader, and one new reader…. Hmmmmm…. symmetry.
Anyway, Jim’s point about the pitchers who have done well under Righetti deserves researching, so I’m gonna throw a couple of numbers out there. I’ll compare the players three seasons prior to arriving to what he did while here, and if he’s gone, what he’s done since leaving:
Before SF 243 innings 359 baserunners 1.47 WHIP 41 home runs allowed
During SF 238 innings 317 baserunners 1.33 WHIP 29 home runs allowed
After SF 33 inings 36 baserunners 1.09 WHIP 1 home run allowed
Before SF 83 innings 167 baserunners 2.01 WHIP 8 home runs allowed
During SF 156 innings 216 baserunners 1.38 WHIP 13 home runs allowed
Before SF 100 innings 165 baserunners 1.65 WHIP 9 home runs allowed
During SF 401 innings 515 baserunners 1.28 WHIP 33 home runs allowed
After SF 32 innings 48 baserunners 1.5 WHIP 2 home runs allowed
Before SF 219 innings 329 baserunners 1.50 WHIP 20 home runs allowed
During SF 121 innings 178 baserunners 1.47 WHIP 11 home runs allowed
After SF 8 innings 17 baserunners 2.12 WHIP 4 home runs allowed
During SF 627 innings 867 baserunners 1.38 WHIP 56 home runs allowed
After SF 494 innings 725 baserunners 1.46 WHIP 53 home runs allowed
Before SF 466 innings 704 baserunners 1.51 WHIP 59 home runs allowed
During SF 745 innings 1069 baserunners 1.43 WHIP 61 home runs allowed
After SF 622 innings 788 baserunners 1.26 WHIP 61 home runs allowed
Before SF 573 innings 824 baserunners 1.43 WHIP 65 home runs allowed
During SF 772 innings 888 baserunners 1.15 WHIP 58 home runs allowed
Before SF 406 innings 601 baserunners 1.48 WHIP 66 home runs allowed
During SF 303 innings 413 baserunners 1.36 WHIP 30 home runs allowed
A couple of interesting notes. Felix Rodriguez allowed exactly 5 home runs in a season 5 different times, and he also allowed exactly 29 walks 4 different times.
It’s important to remember that many of these players career accomplishments mirror their expected results; meaning that it isn’t surprising that Livan has become a much more effective pitcher as he’s entered into his late twenties, that’s what most players do. The same is true for Schmidt and even Scott Eyre.
I think it’s clear that Herges was never much of a pitcher, and that Schmidt and Eyre have flourished under Rags. Ortiz has been what he was when he was here, an unbelievably consistent innings eater. Felix Rodriguez never recovered from that Speizio home run, and Dustin Hermanson appears to be on a surge forward in his career, perhaps due to something he and Rags worked on, perhaps it’s just his natural career path. Brett Tomko is doing better since he’s been here, hard to believe, but wins and losses are never the best way to judge a pitcher. He’s posted a 1.40 WHIP this season, which isn’t Cy Young material, but it ain’t 10 losses at the All Star break either.
Nonetheless, it’s hard not to notice that with the exception of Livan, all of these pitchers have performed better under Righetti’s coaching, some by a substantial margin. I’m open to anyone doing more digging on some of the pitchers I didn’t do. Post it in the backtalk, and I’ll bring it up if it makes a point one way or another.
For now, I’d have to say that Rags, over the long haul, has been a positive influence on the Giants pitchers.
Discuss amongst yourselves….