Sunday, July 6, 2014
So a little while ago a friend texted me and others that the Yankees traded Vidal Nuno to Arizona for Diamondbacks starter Brandon McCarthy. The reactions were What? Why? LMAO. No, no one thinks the Yankees needed to hold on to Nuno. But Brandon McCarthy?
While at first I had forgotten that McCarthy is no longer a fly ball and thought the Yankees were acquiring a Phil Hughes "arm doppelganger", my opinion is still that he's not a good pitcher. (I'm being nice there)
This season McCarthy is tops in the National League in hits and earned runs allowed. His 5.01 ERA and 1.377 WHIP, and 15 home runs allowed (second worst of his career after only 18 starts) are too many crooked numbers, to paraphrase ol' Jim Kaat. Throw in a -0.5 WAR and you can see why no one is doing cartwheels.
There are some positives. The Diamondbacks, for unknown reasons, are paying the remainder of McCarthy's $10.25MM salary and $1MM assignment bonus. McCarthy has rung up a career high 7.6 strikeouts per nine innings and has walked just 1.6 batters per game. Of course, you can't walk batters when they are too busy getting hits off of you.
McCarthy's best years came when he called the very pitcher-friendly Oakland A's (Oakland-Alameda County Colisuem) ballpark home. He led the AL with a 2.86 ERA in 2011, the first year in which he converted from getting fly balls to getting hitters to keep it on the ground. (While getting ground balls is better in Yankee Stadium, the Yankees infield defense could cost McCarthy some outs.) He also had a solid 2012 season with the A's before a line drive to the head caused serious injuries and ended his season early. In the offseason he departed Oakland for a free agent deal with the lowly Diamondbacks.
His numbers in his first year in the desert were only slight better than this season. A 4.53 ERA, 10.7 hits per nine innings, compared to 10.8 this season, and a .325 BAbip (Batting average on balls put in play). This year, hitters have a .347 BAbip against McCarthy.
While the right-hander's numbers are worse at home, his road figures aren't much better.better. And remember, that 5.01 ERA is primarily against National League teams, which in essence fields an eight man lineup. (You might even consider it seven batters the way the eight man in the order gets pitched around to get to the pitcher.)
A few things factored in McCarthy being acquired by the Yankees. 1.) The Yankees have no Major League talent ready to help in the rotation. 2) The Yankees don't have the prospects to deal for a better pitcher. 3.) See 1 and 2.
McCarthy is an upgrade over Nuno, but nothing to get excited about.