In the coming weeks here at Rum Bunter we will be taking a look at each arbitration eligible player for the Pittsburgh Pirates. We begin that today by looking at Jeff Locke.
As Major League Baseball’s offseason begins, so does the decision making inside each of the 30 front offices. A big part of this decision making revolves around players that are arbitration eligible. Due to that, here at Rum Bunter we will take a look at each arbitration eligible Pirate in the coming days.
The first player we are going to take a look at is one that has drawn many the ire of Pirate fans in recent years. He is a player that has struggled both as a starting pitcher and as a relief pitcher. That player is left-handed pitcher Jeff Locke.
The 2016 season was Jeff Locke’s third season being arbitration eligible. Due to this he earned 3.025 million dollars in 2016. And, believe it or not, Locke would be in line to receive a raise n 2017.
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Odds are that, if taken to arbitration, Jeff Locke would earn at least four million dollars in 2017. So the first thing you must ask yourself is if Locke is worth this. In my opinion, the answer is a resounding no.
Jeff Locke began the 2016 season in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ bullpen. After a strong start to the season, which included his first career complete game, the wheels came off for Locke in mid-June. This led to him being demoted to the bullpen later in the season.
In total, Jeff Locke pitched 127 1/3 innings for the Pirates in 2016. In these 127 1/3 innings he allowed 151 hits, 17 home runs, he averaged a career low 5.16 K/9, and he had a 1.53 WHIP which was the highest of his career when you overlook 2011 when he only pitched 16 2/3 innings.
All of this led to Locke posting a 5.44 ERA, 4.84 FIP, 4.91 xFIP, and a 0.2 WAR in 2016. None of these numbers are good, at all. He also allowed an alarming 30.7 percent hard contact rate. Additionally, he allowed at least a wOBA of .315 and a wRC+ of at least 106 off of all of his pitches in 2016.
Nothing Jeff Locke did in 2016 was good. This led to 2016 being the worst season of Locke’s Major League career. And, in my opinion, the Pittsburgh Pirates should non-tender him in arbitration this offseason.
Jeff Locke is both a below average starting pitcher and relief pitcher. Due to this he serves no purpose for the Pirates in 2017. Therefore, he should not be offered a contract this offseason. Instead, the Pirates should non-tender Locke making him a free agent. It is time for the Jeff Locke Era in Pittsburgh to end.