Busting the "he just knows how to win" myth for CC Sabathia

27 Comments

Last season’s Cy Young voting was a major step in the right direction when it comes to no longer judging starting pitchers on wins and losses, but Felix Hernandez still seems likely to lose votes this year because the Mariners’ pathetic offense has left him with an 11-10 record despite a 2.30 ERA and league-leading 219.1 innings.
Several prominent columnists and reporters have already started making noise about CC Sabathia having an edge over Hernandez due to his 19-5 record, but Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times provides a thorough analysis of why the notion of Sabathia “knowing how to win” is all kinds of wrong.
Hernandez has a 2.30 ERA in 219 innings. Sabathia has a 3.02 ERA in 203 innings. If you’re making an argument that Sabathia is deserving of the Cy Young award at this point … well, you’re doing something other than picking the best pitcher. Check out Baker’s article for more on why that’s the case.

Mike Rizzo and Shawn Kelley almost got into a physical confrontation

Getty Images
6 Comments

A few weeks back the Washington Nationals designated reliever Shawn Kelley for assignment the morning after he threw his glove into the ground and glared at the Nats dugout in frustration after giving up a homer in a blowout win against the Mets. He was later traded to the Athletics. Nats GM Mike Rizzo said at that time that he thought Kelley was trying to show up his manager and that there was no room for that sort of thing on the team, offering an “either you’re with us or you’re working against us” sentiment in the process.

Today the Washington Post talks about all of the Nationals’ bullpen woes of late, and touches on the departure of Kelley as being part of the problem. In so doing, we learn that, on the night of Kelley’s mound tantrum, he and Rizzo almost got into a physical confrontation:

Rizzo headed down to the clubhouse and confronted Kelley, according to people familiar with the situation. The argument became heated, including raised voices, and eventually it almost became physical, according to people familiar with the exchange. Adam Eaton got between the two of them and separated them before things could advance further . . .

Might I point out that, the fact of this emerging now helps to vindicate Brandon Kintzler who, the day before, was traded away, some say, for being the source for negative reports from inside the Nats’ clubhouse?

That aside, the article does not make anyone look good, really. Rizzo had the backing of his team with the Kelley incident, but the overall story — how did the Nats’ bullpen, which was once a strength — get so bad? — does no favors for Rizzo. Mostly because he seems to have thought that they had so much extra bullpen depth that they could afford to deal away Kintzler, which he says was a financial move, not a punitive trade for being a media source.

Question: when was the last time you heard a baseball man say he had too much relief pitching? Especially today, in which the bullpen has assumed such a prominent role? Seems rather unreasonable to cut relievers when you’re trying mightily to come back from a sizable deficit in the standings, yes?