24 October 2009
Edit: The Diamondbacks did pick up Webb's option for 2010 on November 6th.
Within the next two weeks, the Diamondbacks must make a decision on Brandon Webb's Option for 2010. Webb was injured in his first start in 2009, and was initially expected to miss around 6 weeks. After unsuccessful comeback attempts in June and July, Webb finally underwent right shoulder surgery (debridement) in August. Webb is expected to resume baseball activities in mid-November, but the Dbacks must make their decision within five days after the World Series ends.
Webb's option calls for $8.5M in 2010, or a $2M buyout. GM Josh Byrnes met with Webb in mid-October, and reportedly told Webb that they would pick up the option. This seems like a good risk for the Dbacks to take. Declining the option would save the team $6.5M, but a pitcher of Webb's quality is worth much more than that if healthy. Here are Webb's stats over the last few years:
2008: 22-7, 3.30 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 227 IP, 7.3K, 2.6 BB, 0.5 HR/9, 24 QS
2007: 18-10, 3.01 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 236 IP, 7.4 K, 2.7 BB, 0.5 HR/9, 22 QS
2006: 16-8, 3.10 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 235 IP, 6.8 K, 1.9 BB, 0.6 HR/9, 23 QS
That type of consistency - 230 IP with an ERA in the low 3s - put Webb among the top 3 pitchers in the NL each year. Early reports are that Webb should be ready by Spring Training, and his return is probably the key for the Dbacks to return to the playoffs. Even if Webb comes back, there is a good chance that the DBacks will sign a free agent to replace the departed Jon Garland and Doug Davis. The top 5 right now would probably be Webb, Dan Haren, Max Scherzer, Billy Buckner, and Kevin Mulvey or Yusmeiro Petit. Only Haren is a lock for the 2010 rotation right now.
EDIT: Petit was claimed off waivers by Seattle on November 4.
Here is a look at the DBacks internal starting pitching options.
Dan Haren (28)
14-10, 3.14 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 229 IP, 8.8 K, 1.5 BB, 1.1 HR/9, 24/33 QS
In Dan Haren, the DBacks have a second Cy Young caliber starting pitcher. Haren finshed 2009 at 14-10 with a 3.14 ERA, 2nd in the NL in IP, 1st in WHIP, and 1st in K/BB. Although the overall numbers were very good, Haren faded significantly in the 2nd Half for the 4th straight year:
2009: 1st Half, 2.01 ERA, Second Half: 4.62 ERA
2008: 1st Half, 2.72 ERA, Second Half: 4.18 ERA
2007: 1st Half, 2.30 ERA, Second Half: 4.15 ERA
2006: 1st Half, 3.52 ERA, Second Half: 4.91 ERA
Strangely, Haren's peripherals (K/9, BB/9, HR/9) have stayed solid in the 2nd Half, but his hits allowed and BABIP (batting average on Balls in Play) have gone way up in the 2nd Half.
Max Scherzer (24)
9-11, 4.12 ERA, 170 IP, 9. K, 3.3 BB, 1.0 HR/9, 14/24 QS
Max Scherzer should be the #3 Starter for the Dbacks. Scherzer's mid-90s fastball and deceptive delivery lead to a lot of strikeouts, but his change-up and slider still need some work. In 2009, he had trouble pitching deep into games, usually reaching 100 pitches by around the 6th inning. Many feel Scherzer's future is as a closer, but in 2009, Scherzer showed the potential to be a quality starter.
Billy Buckner (25)
4-6, 6.40 ERA, 77 IP, 7.4 K, 3.4 BB, 1.4 HR/9, 5/13 QS
Buckner's overall numbers weren't very good, but the 2009 DBacks Minor League Pitcher of the Year was quite effective in his 2nd stint with the DBacks, going 3-3 with a 3.93 ERA and 31K and only 2 HR in 36.2 IP. Buckner also pitcher well in the PCL (9-3, 3.32 ERA, 8.4 K/9, 2.2 K/BB) and was named the Diamondbacks Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
Yusmeiro Petit (24)
3-10, 5.82 ERA, 90 IP, 7.4 K, 3.4 BB, 1.9 HR/9, 5/17 QS
Petit had decent strikeout and BB numbers, but was plagued by the Home Run ball in 2009. There were some promising starts, including 7 IP of no-hit ball against the Pirates, but he'll have to show more consistency to be in the 2010 rotation.
EDIT: Petit was claimed off waivers by Seattle on 11/4/09.
Kevin Mulvey (24)
0-3, 7.04 ERA, 1.685 WHIP, 7.0K, 4.7 BB, 2.0 HR/9, 1/4 QS
Mulvey came to the DBacks in September as part of the Jon Rauch deal, and had previously been traded to the Twins in the Johan Santana trade. He did not pitch well in his DBacks audition, but had pitched well in AAA with good command and location, if not great velocity. He'll get a chance to earn a starting job in 2010.
Bryan Augenstein (22)
0-1, 7.94 ERA, 17 IP, 3.2K, 3.2BB, 1.1 HR, 0/2 QS
Augenstein pitched well in AA (5-0, 0.99 ERA), but struggled when called up to the Majors. He's likely to start in AAA in 2010. Pitching in the Arizona Fall League.
Cesar Valdez (24)
AAA Stats, 7-6, 4.78 ERA, 5.6 K, 2.8 BB, 1.5 HR
Baseball America #7 Diamondback Prospect entering 2009. Valdez has a very good sinker, curve, and changeup, but not a great fastball. He needs to get ground balls to be successful. Pitching in the Arizona Fall League.
Hector Ambriz (25)
AAA Stats, 9-9, 5.57 ERA, 7.3K, 2.8 BB, 0.8 HR
Ambriz's peripherals were much better than his actual results; his Fielder Independent ERA was only 3.80, but Ambriz was plagued by an unusually high BABIP and a low LOB%. He's not considered a great prospect, and he's had some weight issues, but there is some potential here.
Daniel Cabrera (28), Seth Etherton (32), Tony Barnette (25).
The top 2 prospects in the minors for the DBacks, Jarrod Parker and Wade Miley, are still a few years away. Parker will miss 2010 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, while Wade Miley will probably start in High-A or AA next year.