Wash had nary a moment to celebrate the fact that TX picked up his 2010 option today, when it was announced that he lost 2 starters for at least a month. First, Hambone will be out 4-6 weeks after he undergoes abdominal surgery this week. He should be back around 7/15. OK we had already braced ourselves for this eventuality, called Boggsy up, moved some folks around the order. But we could not have anticipated this bombshell. News just came down the pipe that BMmac has a stress fracture in his throwing shoulder and is heading to the DL. It is the same injury to his scapula that he suffered 2 years ago. McCarthy's body has rejected pitching easier than a body rejects foreign tissue.
It may be completely unrelated to his injury but one fact that i have found somewhat disturbing in BMac's better outings of late is his really reduced velo. He has been sitting at about 87-88 throwing between 86-89 and sometimes rarely flashing 90 or 91. His career velo is about 89.8 throwing between 88-92 and flashing 93/94. BMac has been remade so many times in the last 3 years that it wasn't really clear to me whether there should be some concern about this or if this was simply the latest, less impressive but more reliable and consistent Bmac incarnation. No word yet on how long he will be out as the only thing that he can do is rest it I think. So, what, maybe 4-6 weeks?
Given that Holland is ready to move into the rotation this situation isn't as tragic as it could be. However, this sets into relief the importance of being able to rely on some of the AAA kids should the need arise and the problematic reality that they are simply not ready IMO.
Feliz needs to spend the year there. Hunter really belongs in the BP but if you hope to use him as a starter in 2010, then he needs to work on his changeup and FB command - he really needs to throw _fewer_ strikes and move the ball around the zone more effectively, in addition to figuring out how to get more strikeouts with his curveball. To be honest, we might really be talking about pitchability here, in which case, Hunter should probably be in the pen. Mathis is a stopgap option at best and should make his biggest contribution in the bullpen as a strike throwing middle reliever. Mendoza has never been the same since TX called him up and Wash has lost faith in him anyways as a reliever and as a starter. Mendoza suffers from the same pitchability issue as Hunter - he needs to throw fewer strikes and figure out how to work the zone more effectively. Rupe, is Rupe and won't be up at all.
The most interesting option, one I have been touting ad infinitum, might be Moscoso (the starter). Though Hunter has one spot start under his belt, and Mathis will get one too, filling in for BMac on Tuesday, I wonder if Moscoso might end up being the best long-term option to replace a starter out with injury for an extended period. I would really welcome giving him a shot, even prioritizing him for any future spot starts. Why not take a look at this kid as a starter if you get the opportunity to do so. IT seems that his stuff will play in the pen anyways so you have nothing to lose.
The other option to come up with another starter should we need to is to put Jennings in the rotation. This makes me cringe, and I wouldn't do it, but I bet the Rangers would (and I'm not even going to bring up Benson for fear that merely speaking it would bring it into being).
The next priority for JD is to find a decent bullpen arm in the next month or so. He should really be criticized strongly for not signing a reliable arm in spring training. The decision to sign Gobble, Donnelly, and Turnbow in lieu of someone who was not a wild card sign, but someone assured of making the team, will force us to overpay in prospects for what is likely to be a 30yo rental. So this counts as a truly short-sighted move by the JD regime.
At the same time, this could be the moment when Hunter or Mathis or Moscoso or maybe even Feliz work their way into the pen. To be honest, I would rather go with Mags and one of these guys rather than trade a couple of nice prospects for a rental. I suppose it is also possible that BMac could make it back to the rotation sending Holland to the pen and obviating a move for a bullpen arm. Or Bmac could move to the pen, but, he doesnt really strike me as setup man material.
Word just came down that Moscoso is being held out of his start tonight. Let the Moscoso era begin!