Is it time for a Lefty?

If we assume the Red Sox are as lucky this year as they were last year with their injuries (zero significant injuries for a prolonged period of time), is there any possible weakness that can be seen with this team?
Well, every team can always find a million holes to plug. We could certainly use Steve Kline, Jose Vidro, or even Barry Bonds (who was mentioned in Rob Neyer’s column today as the sixth best player of all time).
But what do we need the most? A lefty starting pitcher. We have not had a truly good lefty starting pitcher since Bruce Hurst (who could have made the Hall if a couple more breaks had gone his way). As much as I want to see Bronson Arroyo become a starter for the Red Sox, maybe his true position is long man in the bullpen. As much as I think Byung-Hyun Kim is brimming with potential…I’d trade the two for a good lefty starter much like Hurst.
There are two lefty starters that can be acquired easily today. The Los Angeles Dodgers are itching to trade Odalis Perez (who people say has a bad attitude, although that could be unfounded) and Jarrod Washburn of the Angels – mostly because of a bad season (by his standards) and a glut of starting pitchers.
I was reading a baseball preview magazine today. I happened to be turned to Will Carroll’s article about injuries and the DL in Rotowire‘s magazine. Carroll was talking about how if theres one freak injury in the beginning of his career, he can be labeled injury prone for the rest of his career, even if he never was an injury risk. I believe the same is true for behavioral problems. Some people do have problems, some do that can be corrected, and some just don’t. I don’t know which category Carl Everett falls in (other than the ‘Ellis Burks syndrome’ category – could have been something but had to settle for being merely very good because of injuries)…but as for Odalis Perez, who knows? All that I know is that, boy, his career 1.27 Walks and Hits per Innings Pitched look darn good, and was absolutely brilliant in the 2002 season. He regressed a little last year, but that can be attributable to the sophomore slump (consider last year was his second true year as a 30-start pitcher).
Washburn, on the other hand, has a 1.25 WHIP in more starts than Perez, and his career statistics don’t seem to really fall out of whack from each other.
Perez is the more interesting of the two and seems to have more upside, but with Washburn, you pretty much know what you are getting, and he also reminds me of Bruce Hurst. He’d seem pretty easy to trade for. I have no doubt Art Moreno, the Angels’ owner, would like getting out of Washburn’s contract (he made 3.8 million last year) and their General Manager, Bill Stoneman, might part with less considering the flexibility they have at starting pitching.
Who could we trade? That is something I’m not qualified on. Send in your thoughts, if any strike my fancy, I’ll post it. Off-hand, I might trade
Scott Williamson, and then move Kim to the Cardinals for Kline. Yes, I really like Kline. But all kidding aside, I like that trade a lot. It’s short, simple, and addresses needs. The Angels could use another power in their bullpen, it gets them more starting pitching flexibility. The Red Sox get a lefty starter, and Arroyo can excel in the long-man role and be a trading chip. The Cardinals get a good, young starter, which they really need (anyone ever notice, looking back, how much Darryl Kile held the team together?) and we get Steve Kline, which is automatically just gravy.

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Born on the 37th anniversary of the the day Babe Ruth died (1985) which later became the day Jimy Williams was fired in 2001 (a monumental event at the time), Evan was too young to experience the pain 1986 brought, but a deep wound was sowed in 2003. Since then, Fire Brand has become a blog that Red Sox “club officials read,” as per Peter Gammons. Evan enjoys working out, writing, reading, quality television, science fiction and history and being newly married. He is a professional baseball journalist as well as president of a state non-profit and member of the Board of Directors for a national profit. (Twitter.)

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