Brilliant is the word used to describe the Dodger’s signing of Brandon McCarthy by some pundits and analysts. Moneyball fan boys and protectors of Andrew Friedman’s wallets hailed the move as genius. The Dodgers had signed McCarthy to a 4-year 48 million dollar contract during the winter of 2014 and it seemed like a decent bet to make.
The word bet comes into play because McCarthy has been riddled with injuries throughout his career. He was so bad in his recent time with the Dbacks that they traded him to the Yankees during midseason in 2014. Keep that in mind. The dbacks didn’t want him any longer. He posted a 5.10 ERA in the first part of the 2014 season with the dbacks and posted a 3-10 record. He was giving up over 10.8 hits per nine innings. Not only was he plagued with injuries, he was bad.
Of course we all remember him getting hit in the head with a line drive during his time with Arizona. When he came to the Yankees he was able to recapture his form. He struck out 8.2 per nine and posted a 3.22 FIP/2.89 ERA in 90.1 innings pitched in New York. He walked only 13 and posted a 1.1 WHIP. Again it seemed like a decent bet that McCarthy was back to form, especially after rumor that the dbacks had told him to stop using his cut fastball and the recovery from various injuries.
The problem was again McCarthy is always hurt with a history of shoulder issues among others. Of his 12 seasons in the majors he’s pitched in 100 or more frames just 5 times, and tossed 200 or more innings once. He’s made 30 or more starts in only one season.
So when the Dodgers signed him it not only mystified me, but most people who could see the flawed logic in the signing. McCarthy just wasn’t reliable and a starting pitcher who was not able to take the mound every fifth day did not seem to be a wise investment.
But I just shrugged my shoulders because as I have said before on this site, I am not the guardian of Friedman’s wallet. I do not root for executives nor do I feel the need to justify their checking accounts. The Dodgers had a lot of money and if they felt the need to waste it on another injury riddled pitcher than hey, that was their decision. The problem would be all the games he would cost them, which is what made me annoyed.
It wasn’t a surprise to me or to my sister. As a matter of fact we both shook our heads when we heard the signing was announced. The Dodgers needed healthy reliable starters, not question marks. Here’s a look at our text exchange during that time…..
LADR: Hey Stac, the Dodgers signed Brandon McCarthy to a 4-year 48 million dollar deal
Stac: Brandon McCarthy? I mean really?
LADR: Oh I know, it’s bad. 48 million dollars Stac.
Stac: How many starts do you think he’ll make before he lands on the disabled list?
LADR: 5 maybe 6. If he even makes it through spring training.
Stac: ughhh god, I can’t, They may as well sign Brett Anderson….
LADR: Uhhhhh….Stac I have more news for you….
Hand to god that’s how the conversation went. For the record, McCarthy made 4 starts in 2015 before blowing out his elbow and requiring Tommy John surgery. He made 9 starts in 2016, and combined with the 5 he’s made this year gives him 18 starts since signing with the Dodgers. That’s how much 48 million dollars has gotten the Dodgers, 18 starts, and 8 wins in 72 innings pitched.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone about McCarthy’s latest injury debacle. He’s back on the disabled list. This time it’s because of an accident in the training room in which he’s reportedly dislocated his non-throwing shoulder over lifting. Supposedly he told the Dodgers he could still pitch since it’s not his pitching shoulder, but the Dodgers wisely told him no.
To be fair McCarthy has pitched well this season, not great, but good. In 5 starts he’s posted a 3.10 ERA and struck out 25 over 29 innings pitched while walking only 9. Hopefully the tall lanky right hander’s stay on the disabled list is short.
But this is Brandon McCarthy and again this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody. It’s not a surprise when an injury riddled hurler gets hurt.
Perhaps the lesson to learn here is to stop taking bets unless they are sure things. Here’s to a speedy recovery for McCarthy.