Friday, May 07, 2004

Elmer Withers -- Whither Elmer? 

What should the Diamondbacks do regarding Elmer Dessens? It seems that there are at least 3 options:

1. Do Nothing: Well, one look at this season's Game Log shows me that he's certainly not improving. His ERA by game is:

4/8: 1.59
4/14: 17.36
4/20: 5.40
4/25: 6.75
4/30: 9.00
5/6: 9.00

Unlike Daigle and Sparks, he's moving in the wrong direction. Elmer was never more than a decent pitcher (he was better than decent, I suppose, in 2002), and he seems to be on the downward slope of his career. I don't like this particular option.

2. Find a current pitcher to replace him: A number of possibilities here. We could bring up Andrew Good or Casey Fossum from Tucson -- I'd like to see either of them get a shot. There's always Shane Reynolds -- he can't be any worse than Dessens (looks around for some wood to knock on). Finally, we could try swapping Dessens and Koplove. Koplove has got off to a great start this year -- maybe he can pitch decently in 6-inning increments. And Dessens' problem has never been giving up runs early on -- it's innings 4-6 that have been problematic. That would seem to make him a good middle reliever or setup man candidate.

3. Go to a four-man rotation: Sabernomics recently discussed moving to a four-man rotation. The net effect would essentially be to move some innings from starters to relievers. While I can understand the concern for Randy's arm, the other three pitchers (especially Sparks) should be able to handle slightly higher pitch counts. And having both Koplove and Dessens pitch out of relief more often might not be so bad.

The fourth option, of course, is to trade for a decent pitcher. I doubt we'll be able to get somebody good at this point in the season. Maybe in July when 10 teams have given up.

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