Too Much Pitching? No Such Thing
A Guest Post by Joe Luchok
Quick, name something you can’t have too much of. Money? Ask some lottery winners if more money made their lives better. Shoes? Imelda Marcos never had enough. Water? Too much will overload your body and kill you. Pitching? Ah, now you hit on something that you can’t have too much of. If you don’t believe me just ask the Pittsburgh Pirates.
We are not halfway through the season and the Pirates have started 11 pitchers. Remember spring training? The rotation was supposed to be AJ Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez, James MacDonald, Jeff Karstens, and, most thought, Kyle McPherson.
By the end of spring training Karstens was hurt and Jeff Locke outpitched McPherson. McPherson soon headed to the DL. Jonathan Sanchez took Karstens place and a pitcher many thought should have been cut, Jenmar Gomez, made the team in the pen. To make a long story short, as the season moved on Sanchez was awful and Gomez took his spot and then, over the course of about a month, McDonald, Burnett, Gomez, and Rodriguez all went to the DL.
Phil Irwin got spot start and then went on the DL. Only Locke continued to pitch regularly. Francisco Liriano came off the DL and took one rotation spot, Gerrit Cole was brought up to start and then Brandon Cumpton, who started the season in AA. Charlie Morton also came off the DL to join the rotation.
From starting the season with more pitchers than they needed the Pirates are now using pitchers who were not even on the radar in spring training. The current rotation looks like Locke, Liriano, Morton, Cole, and to be announced. Decisions will have to be made when the injured pitchers come off the DL but those things always seem to work themselves out.
Hold on there, if all those pitchers had stayed healthy wouldn’t they have too many pitchers?
No, the odds of the entire staff going through the season without injury are very low. One or more of the starters could have gone to the pen. Even if they reached mid-season with all pitchers healthy they could package a couple in trades. In fact, as the injured pitchers return, trades will become possible. Pitching is such a valued and fragile commodity that you can always do something with extra ones.
There may be some other things that you can’t have too much of but the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates have shown that pitching is one thing you really can’t have too much of.