Time to Cut Danys Baez

I could simply post this chart as evidence enough that Danys Baez isn’t fit to handle high-leverage innings anymore.

You are not mis-reading the chart: Baez’s strikeout rate has been in solid decline since 2003. Surprisingly, it has little to do with the Tommy John surgery that caused him to miss all of the 2008 season as his punch-outs had, obviously, fallen for four straight years.

Throughout his career, he showed average to slightly above-average control with an aggregate 3.2 BB/9 between 2003-06. In ’07, his walk rate ballooned to 5.2 per nine and he missed a combined 42 days due to right forearm tendinitis and a sprained UCL in his right elbow, which eventually forced Baez to go under the knife. Baez returned in ’09 with the Orioles and regained his control, averaging 2.8 walks per nine. He finished the season completely healthy with a 4.02 ERA and walked into free agency.

Baez was snapped up by GM Ruben Amaro and agreed to terms with the Phillies for two years and $5.25 million. The transaction was not received well with most Phillies fans because he was a 32-year-old with an injury history and a rather unimpressive resume.

The skeptics have been proven right as Baez has seen his strikeout rate continue its descent and his walk rate has ballooned to match his strikeout rate, both at 4.8 per nine. Of 248 pitchers who have pitched at least 28 innings, Baez ranks 214th with a 5.09 SIERA. To give you an idea of just how bad that is, Joe BlantonJoe Blanton! — has a better SIERA at 4.98. And, as mentioned yesterday, Baez leads the team in “meltdowns” having earned his seventh yesterday when he allowed three runs to the Minnesota Twins in the eleventh inning.

Baez has not been the victim of any bad luck as his BABIP is at a relatively normal .289, his strand rate is at the average 70 percent, and his HR/FB rate is at 13.3%, about the same level it has been since 2007.

There is no reason to think that Baez will improve as the season progresses. Relievers who strike out hitters at a Jamie Moyer rate tend to fail quite impressively. The Phillies’ best bet is to eat the remainder of Baez’s contract and offer him to another team for a box of Rice-A-Roni, then give his vacant bullpen spot to Scott Mathieson, the subject of a confusing roster maneuver that left most of Philadelphia befuddled yesterday.

The New York Mets have kicked Mike Jacobs, Frank Catalanotto, and Gary Matthews Jr. from their roster. The Mets aren’t the only team capable of ridding themselves of unproductive players… are they?

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11 comments

  1. Greg V.

    June 20, 2010 07:05 PM

    I second that!

  2. David

    June 20, 2010 07:12 PM

    You had me at the title, Bill.

  3. Michael

    June 20, 2010 08:43 PM

    PLEASE DO CUT THIS ASSWIPE.

  4. maxL

    June 21, 2010 01:30 AM

    Only if Greg Dobbs keeps him company on the waiver wire.

  5. Steve-O-

    June 21, 2010 04:17 AM

    Given the choice i would gladly have my wisdom teeth pulled with bacteria ladened, rusty pliers and no novocaine than watch one more melt down by Blow-Ez.

    Absolute horrible signing by RAJ.

  6. mcjb

    June 21, 2010 06:46 AM

    I thought the plan was to keep Mathieson in limbo for a few days? Then DL Ruiz, and give Mathieson that spot, or DFA Sardinha and give Mathieson that spot? The Phils won’t likely roster three C’s for long.

    SSS Disclaimers (31 TBF)apply, but it could be argued that Baez has been unlucky this month (.366 BABIP, 65.6 LOB), which is freshest in our minds.
    At least until someone (Madson?) starts pushing for a bullpen spot (or Happ pushes Kendrick towards the pen),could Baez be used in a low leverage/RTOGY/more-than-one-inning-only-if-it-doesn’t-matter role?
    When another spot is needed, Herndon and his 3.59 K/9 may be the best choice for removal.

    In other Baez News, what’s going on with his career BABIP splits (.320 vs.L/.244 vs.R)?

    Great blog, and I apologize for my excessive use of hyphens and parentheses.

  7. Johnny Goodtimes

    June 21, 2010 09:33 AM

    I have given him the nickname “White Flag”, for obvious reasons. He is the man you insert into a game that it is really important for you to lose. Finally, a Cuban I hate more than Fidel Castro.

  8. Ted

    June 21, 2010 02:44 PM

    I agree Johnny, Once Baez came in on the 11th I immediately called the game a loss. I know the Phillies were running out of pitchers but I seriously think they should have thrown David Herndon out there. Here’s why:

    1) In Baez’s past 10 appearances he has given up at least one run in 6 of them. That’s only 4 scoreless appearances.

    2) Herndon has a slightly higher WHIP, but is much more of a ground ball pitcher. In roughly 10 less appearances than Baez, Herndon has roughly equal is GB number(52 vs 53). Since pitchers can control their BABIP, Herndon’s ground balls gives you a much better chance of making outs and even double plays if he gets hit.

    3) Baez has a SLG% of .505, Herndon has a SLG% of .463 – a pretty big difference given the sample size difference.

    4) Baez’s SEIRA as you mentioned, an aweful 5.09. Herndon’s is significantly lower: 4.29. (Note: Baez’s IP: 28 // Herndon’s IP: 23)

    Am I saying Herndon should handle high-leverage innings from now on? Absolutely not, he’s a rookie and batters still have an extremely high 3.58 average against him. But a case can be made he has pitched better than Baez.

    Put this way: in that single game with Baez or Herndon as the only other options out of the pen who would you have taken? Personally, I would have taken Herndon any day.

    Do you guys agree?

  9. Ted

    June 21, 2010 02:45 PM

    Typo: Since pitchers [can’t] control their BABIP, Herndon’s ground balls gives you a much better chance of making outs and even double plays if he gets hit.

  10. Trevor

    June 21, 2010 02:55 PM

    I agree Herndon’s always a better option than Baez. He’s got 60.5% GB rate, and his .378 BABIP suggests some bad luck.

  11. hk

    June 21, 2010 04:47 PM

    Baez is just another in what has quickly become a long line of horribe free agent signings by RAJ.

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