Nick over at MVN Giants Cove thinks that Matt Morris and Brett Tomko were separated by birth. I looked a little deeper, and was fairly dismayed to find out that his comparison was far more accurate than I would have guessed, or hoped. Combining 2003 and 2004, you’d have a hard time figuring which player is which:
Morris 395 IP 414 H 217 R 194 ER 47 HR 93 BB 248 SO
Tomko 385 IP 401 H 197 R 182 ER 39 HR 121 BB 222 SO
That’s a pretty close comp, at first glance. Looking a little deeper, we see the following:
Morris 5.66 K/9IP 2.66 K/BB 1.28 WHIP 4.42 ERA
Tomko 5.19 K/9IP 1.81 K/BB 1.35 WHIP 4.26 ERA
Hmmmm…. Still pretty close. Is there anything that suggests that Morris pitched better than Tomko, seeing as Tomko would have cost the Giants about $9 million for three seasons, as opposed to $9 million per? Well, last season, the Cardinals allowed 323 runs, and 82 home runs in St. Louis. The Giants allowed 371 runs and 69 home runs in SF. That would lead me to believe that neither pitcher was particularly helped by his home park.
I guess what we’re left with is this:
Morris has had a much better career than Tomko. Both pitchers made the bigs in 1997, both have just under 1000 strikeouts, around 60 losses, 200 career starts, around 1400 innings pitched, 1400 hits allowed…. But Morris has allowed 50% fewer home runs (129 to 193), walked more than 100 fewer batters, and allowed over 150 fewer runs and earned runs, (albeit, while playing on better teams). All this adds up to Morris having an ERA almost a full run better, and a much better career record, 101-62 vs. 81-73 for Tomko.
If Morris can get back to his career norm, the Giants will be happy with the investment. If he stays at his current level of performance, (back to back years of league average production), this deal will look a lot like the numerous bad investments Sabean’s been guilty of the last several seasons.