2010 Season Recap, Part 3: The Bullpen

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

2010 Season Recap, Part 3: The Bullpen

. Wednesday, November 3, 2010

In previous weeks, we've covered both the starting pitching and the offense. Defense is never all that entertaining, so we'll move on to the bullpen. And son of a bitch was it bad. Jim Hendry took a bullpen with two legit pitchers (Left and the Marmot), overpaid John Grabow, and filled the remainder with one unready prospect (Cashner) and a parade of generic white guys. Let's take a closer look, shall we?

Carlos Marmol - 77.2 IP, 38 SV, 138 K, 2.55 ERA, 1.185 WHIP

Carlos Marmol, despite occasional trouble with poorly-timed walks, is an inhuman destroyer of souls. He's officially returned to Filthy status, and smashed the K/9 record previously held by Roided Eric Gagne. Unfortunately for him, he's a closer on a team that didn't have a whole lot of late leads. In just over half of our wins, his save was responsible. That's some bad motherfuckin' baseball, but it'd be far worse without the ninja power of Marmol (Filthy). Wonder how Kevin Gregg is doing these days.

Sean Marshall - 74.2 IP, 90 K, 2.65 ERA, 1.112 WHIP

I'm glad we finally stopped trying to make him into a mediocre starting pitcher, because like I said all along, he's a hell of a bullpen guy. Taking into account Marmol's occasional wildness, Lefty here is actually stingier with giving up baserunners. He's also able to go a few innings if need be, which is important when your pitching staff gets blown up on a regular basis. Randy Wells owes this man a steak dinner and a Rolex.

Symbolism is clever. It's my literary side taking hold.

Andrew Cashner - 2-6, 54.1 IP, 50 K, 4.80 ERA, 1.564 WHIP

It's pretty clear that Hendry thought 2010 was Cashner's year to shine. Either that, or he's just really terrible at constructing a bullpen roster. Likely both. Cashner's got potential, but 54.1 innings of work for a guy still struggling to pitch at the major league level is ridiculous. He's a few more fastballs over the plate away from Samardzija numbers, and that WHIP is way too high for a guy who will likely end up as one of the top three bullpen guys going into 2011.

Even more, if you're some kind of masochist or something, after the jump

James Russell - 49.0 IP, 42 K, 4.96 ERA, 1.347 WHIP, 2.0 HR/9

Indistinguishable from the worthless dross at the bottom (and middle, and near the top) of the pen, but for the fact that I've taken to calling him "Russell the Love Mussell." Two homers per nine innings of work is an unforgivable ratio, even with the occasional strikeout. He's a guy who you really shouldn't have to depend on for a whole season, but we did. Pay attention - it's something of a theme here.

Justin Berg - 40.0 IP, 14 K, 5.18 ERA, 1.625 WHIP

I'm a passionate (or at least angry) Cubs fan who spent far more on game tickets in 2010 than the Cubs deserved. And yet if Justin Berg walked into O'Shaughnessey's on Wilson and ordered me a beer, I wouldn't have any idea who he was. Weird that a group of pitchers so infuriating can be so anonymous at the same time.

Not entirely an apt metaphor. The pitching machine breaks down less often.

John Grabow - 25.2 IP, 7.36 ERA, 1.870 IP, 1.8 HR/9, 4.6 BB/9

Why Hendry the Hutt thought that Grabow deserved $2.7M last year - and an insane $4.8M next year - is beyond me. Hendry negotiates contracts like a kid playing a video game GM mode with the salary cap turned off. Were teams really clamoring for the services of a middling lefty in his 30s from the Pirates organization? Of course, by now it's clear that ridiculous contracts won't lose the man his job.

Bob Howry - 20.2 IP, 0-3, 5.66 ERA, 1.742 WHIP, 12.6 H/9

As if the on-field results weren't terrible enough, Hendry (I honestly didn't mean to bring him up this many times) had to twist the knife and bring back my least favorite Cub of ... possibly ever. What makes one think "hey, he wasn't good enough for the Diamondbacks, but that 10+ ERA should fit right in there"? His continued big league employment baffles and infuriates me. His career is like the slasher that won't die. Hopefully 2011 doesn't see yet another sequel.

Marcos Mateo - 21.2 IP, 26K, 5.82 ERA, 1.338 WHIP, 2.5 HR/9

It's nearly impossible to find a picture of this guy with Google Image search, so he may or may not be part of the Federal Witness Protection Program. And yet the most unidentifiable member of the pen is also the only one that provides the smallest glimmer of interest. He gives up an insane amount of HRs and the WHIP is still too damn high, but his strikeout rate makes me think that if he gets a little more seasoning and command, he could be a viable option in the future. Of course, he's already 26, so he really needs to get on that shit. He should get a shot next year - it's not like we have anything better waiting around for us.

Interchangeable Worst Guy -

Mitch Atkins, Scott Maine, Jeff Gray, Jeff Stevens, Brian Schlitter ... none of them bring anything to the table, but we've got to have enough bodies to sit over by the tarp. Not an ERA under six in the bunch, save for Maine - and Schlitter's 12.38 ERA balances that out quite nicely. Get ready for more of this as the Ricketts continue their Celebrating Mediocrity campaign.