Brandon McCarthy (The Hulk) Lands on The DL Again, Does The Sun Rise?

Brandon McCarthy

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: Ughhhhh

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.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda’s Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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40 thoughts on “Brandon McCarthy (The Hulk) Lands on The DL Again, Does The Sun Rise?

  1. He has pitched good this season. Hopefully 10 days will do the trick. Though I do find it “funny” that McC, Hill, and Kazmir are all on the DL.

    No I’m not laughing at them, just at the overall FA signings by FAZ.

  2. I think the over/under is around 110 innings. Steamers only gives him 102. I don’t expect much. Never did. If he and Stripling and … whoever, can split 30 starts, there’s our #5 slot covered. Now, who splits 30 with Wood, and Maeda …. and Hill…..

      1. Just got out of a lithium pool and the steam room. At the moment what that guy does really doesn’t matter. Nothing is preventable. As the Mystics tell us – all that is to be is already written.

        Stand by for the inevitable.

  3. The amazing thing is that with 5 starting pitchers (Kazmir, Stewart, Hill, Ryu and McCarthy) spending time on the DL already this year (and it’s only 32 games in – 20% of the season) the Dodgers have only used 7 starting pitchers – and 11 relievers.

    1. If we can use only 7, and Kersahaw pitches 32, that’s 130 games divided amongst 6 pitchers, 21.67 games a piece. Not gonna happen. But I am surprised it’s only 7 so far. For this rotation, that’s pretty good. Maybe we can get half the season in with 7? I doubt it.

      I think all of them should have a 1 week vacation 3 times a year, even Kershaw. He’s rapidly approaching that 30 year mark that seems to be the plateau for today’s throwers. Go home, lie around the pool, get a massage, go fishing. Get away from the game for a week. We’re gonna need 7 innings out of you a few times in October. But, that’s me. I’m a tree hugging, legalize pot, freedom of choice, living wage, single payer liberal. I’m all that and even I say millionaires need more than 4 months off every year. I’m a living breathing contradiction of terms.

    2. Dodger Rick, that is because (1) we traded a bunch of ready minor league pitchers, and (2) Alex Wood and Ross Stripling kept us afloat.

      Get ready for the next wave.

    1. Who cares if a pitcher can be counted on to pitch more than 5 innings or can be counted on to pitch every 5 days. Who needs Hall of Famers – we would rather have “depth” (defined as guys who can’t pitch right now but might be able to in a couple of weeks).

    2. Ok Bluto,

      I’m guessing you don’t get what a workhorse is. But let me explain a bit here…

      Everything sure could be a lot easier. You can either….

      A, sign or acquire a bunch of injury riddled pitchers that are constantly hurt and constantly swapping on and off the disabled list. You then have to constantly be unsure of who is pitching day-to-day switching around pitchers like a merry-go round, worrying and overdosing on heartburn medication, and burning out your bullpen from overwork….OR…..

      B, you can sign healthy durable starting pitchers that can give you more than 4-5 innings every start and are usually guaranteed to take the mound every fifth day. You also get the added benefit of a healthy well rested bullpen that is able to pitch multiple innings with ease and a farm system that is not depleted because of injuries.

      Which would you choose???? I like the easy way.

      1. How many pitchers of type A can you sign? For the same money how many of type B? Seems an important factor.

        1. Bluto

          Not for a club like the Dodgers with the highest payroll and richest resources in baseball. Number 1 in attendance, global merchandise, marketing, ticket sales, and revenue and owned by a multi-billionaire conglomerate. I’de say the Dodgers could afford anybody they want. This is the Dodgers not the A’s.

          1. That kind of thinking gets you nowhere and is basically that of a 10 year old with no concept of money. You can do better than that, Scott. Much better.

            Every club is a business and participates in the same market. The Dodgers can’t afford anyone they want. (How is the weather in Arizona, Zack?)

            You set a value structure and you adhere to it. IT’s how you run Google, it’s how you run a start-up.

            So, I ask again. How many pitchers of Type A can you sign? For the same money how many of type B?

            I’ll revise my initial question, this doesn’t “seem” to be an important factor, it is THE important factor in finding value.

    3. It’s just different ways of building a roster, Bluto. FAZ is making it work (I think Roberts and Honeycutt is doing the real work actually as our bullpen is significantly better under them than Mattingly). Having workhorses work too, and actually based on $ per start, cheaper too.

          1. “Overpaying”? I would say no. The only one who has a monster contract is Jansen. Otherwise it’s bulk rate relief pitching. And when another team releases one, sign him and store him at AAA!

    1. So, you’re taking the under on 13 True? Or do you just want 10 guys to pitch every 10th day or so?

      I wanted a push on 13, but took the over. We have the same guys we had last year and they’re all a year older.

      1. Badger

        Did you read Dodgers Digest today?

        In an article about last nights game, they had a chronology of the second base men we have went through, I thought you might like to see it.

  4. Melancon on the DL with a mild right pronator strain. It was the right pronator, not the left one.

    Can a human being survive on one pronator?

    <>

  5. +Only used 7……after 32 games…….I remember when we only used 4 or 5 for an entire season. It’s just crazy. The uncertainty, the overworked bullpens, and the saber metric geeks saying this is how we build champions. Give me Koufax, Drysdale, Podres, any day. Just 3 good starters who could go at least 7 would ease the burden on the bullpen, but we Dodger fans get to enjoy overpaid broken down middle of the road starters to go with a true ace. Even Maeda, who everybody said was a brilliant signing, is mediocre at least every other start. It’s FAZ’s master plan, and to tell the truth, it sucks.

  6. I do prefer starters going 7 innings, and having the same lineup play most days. The FAZ way of 5 pitchers and platoons work, but it is just another way, not a better way, and doesn’t really save money either. The money that has been well spent thus far has been signing Turner and Jansen, i.e. our own FAs that haven’t been reclamation projects, and the money spent in the minors and scouting. Everything else has been a lot of churn and in some cases have blocked our youth movement. One year’s Kike is another year’s Taylor. Logan White did a great job and with if he had more sway and more resources in the minors, we may be further ahead than we are now. By the way, I really like our system overall under Kapler, the players look like they are getting developed, and I hope Kapler should be promoted to replace the FAZ when it comes time for the FAZ to move on.

    By the way, I do appreciate Bluto’s takes and his information. He’s very clear and he defends FAZ’s moves based on principles, not just a blind FAZophile trying to spin things. (For example, we used to hear people covering for FAZ from both sides; when the FAZ misses on a FA it’s becuase the FAZ wasn’t really interested and just trying to drive up proces, and when the FAZ pays too much it’s because the FAZ is able to use stats and projections better than other FOs and therefore sees great value). I would like to see more of Rye, although he probably feels like a Lakers fan these days.

    And lastly, I really appreciate Michael’s minor league summaries. He should really get some thanks for being so consistent with that.

  7. Well they put Dre on the 60 day to make room for another FAZ waiver wire pick up, one Justin Marks, a lefty. They also signed a former Twin, 28 year old Logan Darnell, also a lefty. Seems like they are stock piling them. Darnell was last in the Majors in 2014, his only trip to the bigs, was 0-2 with the Twinkies. He has been used mostly as a starter. Game tonight was a roller coaster ride of emotions, The 6 no hit innings by the kid, Grandal’s homer, Kike’s error in LF, where he would not have been save the injury to Toles in that same inning, Tying the game in the 9th and winning in the 10th. Pretty heady stuff. Grandal now has 5 hits in the last 2 games, Puig and Joc have 3. Puig had a bad night at the plate after his first AB. But on his 2nd K he got to first when the ball got past Cervelli. They wasted a lead off double from Utley, and they had runners at 2nd and 3rd after that and could not score. Puig, Bellinger and Toles made some outstanding fielding plays, Toles catching McCutcheon’s blast against the wall. Bellinger made a leaping grab and came down on 1st base to save Turner from an error and he caught a line drive later in the game to keep Urias’s no hitter alive. Puig caught a ball running in and one against the fence. So they win the series and now go for the sweep tomorrow night with Maeda on the hill. Ryu coming off the DL on Thursday to face the Rockies. Romo was signed to get to Jansen, and in his defense, the ball that scored McCutcheon, should have been caught by Kike. They said he lost it in the lights, I think he simply blew it.

  8. There was NEVER going to be a no hitter thrown by Urias last night. It took 95 pitches to get 6.1. Great outing by the kid, but there will be no no hitter by him any time soon. I doubt Roberts would want to leave Kershaw out there past 115 pitches and no hitters generally take a lot more pitches than that.

    We seem to have something going on here. It helps to not play a team with a winning record for a couple weeks. Colorado coming up. Better test.

    Who is Justin Marks?

    It’s been raining and cool every day here. On to Colorado today. La Junta. Looks like a delightful place.

    1. Marks is a lefty reliever placed on waivers by the Rays, go figure FAZ picking up a Ray. He is a 29 year old reliever with 6 games in the majors over 3 years. ERA in the bigs 3.65 over 12 innings of work, his WHIP is 2.11. He was placed on OKC’s roster. Just fodder IMHO. Mean while down at OKC, they lost 3-1 to Round Rock. Only 6 hits. All were singles, SVS raised his average to .200 and Trayce got 1 hit in 4 at bats playing CF. He stuck out twice more though. That gives him 24 for the year. Loser was Wilmer Font who is 2-3 with an ERA climbing towards 5. Ravin and Rhame each threw 1 scoreless inning of relief. Winning pitcher was former Dodger farm hand, Allen Webster. Former Dodger Wesley Wright pitched 1 scoreless inning of relief for Round Rock. The Tulsa team lost 1-0. Only had 2 hits. The RC Quakes, the only Dodger farm team over .500 won 8-1. Gavin Lux is hitting .158 at Great Lakes. La Junta? I would not classify it as delightful.

  9. On a comment above I said Kike had an error, they actually credited the hitter with a double. And the explanation was Kike lost it in the lights. MRI for Toles today.

  10. There are no sure things in baseball. That’s an iron clad an axiom as the one regarding no free lunches in economics.

    This notion that somehow all the Dodgers front office has to do is go get five starters who are studs and will pitch complete games every game, cost being no object, is naive to put it gently.

    Here’s an interesting article on how Brandon McCarthy’s pitching has evolved over his career. I mentioned before that his velocity had actually increased when the Dodgers signed him, which is rare for a guy later in his career. This article documents the changes he made and his evolution as a pitcher. The takeaway lesson: pitchers evolve, and you can’t look at his stats seven years ago and make a sweeping generalization about his future effectiveness. But I know…all that stuff is “moneyball bullshit.”

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-many-versions-of-brandon-mccarthy/

    I have a prediction. McCarthy will return at some point, probably fairly soon. If he comes back and pitches effectively, I probably won’t see articles such as this. In fact, if he comes back and pitches very effectively and the Dodgers do very well…maybe even go far in the playoffs. Maybe, we can all hope, win a WS. If that does happen, I predict – and I will even wager money – that this article will be a forgotten distant memory.

    I also predict there will be future articles that criticize something – all reactive of course, and not really weighing the pros and cons of any alternative strategy.

    1. Oh you are so wrong Patch. If McCarthy comes back and goes the entire season without getting hurt and pitches well then I will write an article praising him. But what are the odds of that happening? Want to make a little wager???

      I think many people here and on other sites have offered alternative strategies.

        1. I’m not saying he won’t pitch well when he’s actually on the mound.so far he’s been productive when healthy. But he’ll be on and off the disabled list all season until he finally breaks down for good in august or September. I would be shocked if he’s able to pitch in the postseason.

          1. Ok…pick a charity.

            If what you predict actually transpires – that he will break down for good in August or September, then I will gladly donate $20 to the charity of your choice. If he doesn’t, and actually pitches and is available (not that he will necessarily be included on the playoff roster), then you donate to either of the above charities I linked.

            Deal?

  11. Why are these guys allowed around weights without adult supervision? I was reading scouting reports over at TBLA and over and over they talk about how much more muscle mass a kid could put on as if that’s great. I know chicks dig the long ball, but do we want athletes or some guys who are always pulling something and hitting the DL?

    As for McCarthy, he’s actually been an iron man compared to Hill, who pitched over 100 innings twice in his career. At least they got the Cubs to sign Brett Anderson. I can only imagine what Drew bet Theo he couldn’t win another championship with that guy on the roster.

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