Editor's Note: The following post is a part of the 2013 Purple Row Writer Search -- our quest to find some great new contributors to Purple Row
According to reports, the Rockies are 'aggressively pursuing' Carl Pavano (and his mustache) to help shore up a pitching staff that ranked near the bottom of the league in every major category last year. While signing the 37-year-old Pavano could be a move that generates little to no excitement among Rockies fans, there are several reasons that signing him could be extremely beneficial for the club.
His injury history is well documented, as was his inability to perform to high expectations given him when he signed with the Yankees back in 2005. However, he could be just what the Rockies need if he stays healthy. Throw out his injury plagued 2012, take his numbers from 2009-2011, and you have a pitcher that could be well suited to conquer the mystique that is Coors Field.
In 2009, Pavano posted a 5-4 record with a 4.64 ERA in 12 starts with Minnesota. In 2010, he was 17-11 with 3.75 ERA in 32 starts, and in 2011 he was 9-13 with a 4.30 ERA in 33 starts. While his numbers do not jump off the charts, it’s his peripherals that should encourage Rockies fans.
With the Rockies new piggyback pitching system, the starters figure to average around 100 pitches per appearance this year. In 2009, Pavano averaged 15.6 pitches per inning pitched with the Indians and Twins ranking him 28th in all of baseball. In 2010 he averaged 14.2 P/IP, tying him with Roy Halladay as the 2nd most efficient pitcher in baseball, trailing only Cliff Lee. In 2011 he averaged 15.2 P/IP making him the 20th most efficient pitcher. If the Rockies are preaching efficient, quick innings to get the offense back onto the field, Pavano may be just what they are looking for. If he averaged around 15 pitches per inning with the Rockies, we could theoretically see him pitch through the 6th inning most starts, setting up a solid bullpen to close out the game.
Also, he is a great innings-eater, throwing 199 innings in 2009, 221 innings in 2010 and 222 innings in 2011. Barring a major injury, he should be able to contribute a lot of innings to the staff and conversely help the bullpen.
Now, Guthrie was promised to do the same thing last year and failed miserably. However, Guthrie was basically slotted in as the de facto ace from day one heightening his expectations. Pavano would be no more than a 3 or a 4 for the Rockies and would be more of a mentor for the young pitchers rather than the ace. Plus, from what I have heard, Pavano doesn’t ride a bike to work, a la Guthrie. He has experience pitching in the postseason in New York and he can pass on that knowledge and experience to the youngsters. Without any expectations, we could see a solid year from Pavano. And when there are little to no expectations, then that seems to be when the Rockies thrive.
So what do you think? Is Pavano a good, low-risk buy for the Rockies? I think yes.