TDGX: Update on GoldRubio
It hasn’t been a banner year thus far for Team Goldrubio. It didn’t start easily, with the losses of Jarrod Parker, Matt Latos and Casey Janssen, three of the lynchpins to our entire pitching staff, and we’ve suffered more injuries (as have many others) to date. Carlos Beltran’s combination of poor play and missed time meant extra at-bats for Aaron Hicks who is on the DL presumably with a case of injured dignity. Mike Olt’s power made up for his inability to make contact for about three weeks and then that experiment went south in a hurry. We traded our injured Jarrod Parker for a soon-to-be-injured Francisco Liriano, and have also had to deal with Clay Buchholz’s strained ERA.
All this to say; problems… we’ve had our share. Neverthless, we’ve been “buyers” so to speak on the trade market. We’ve mostly moved to address our pallid pitching, acquiring Travis Wood early on, following that up with the acquisition of Liriano and spending some FAAB on Alfredo Simon. We also waited out the poor starts of Jake Odorizzi, Chris Archer and Ryan Vogelsong, all still capable of throwing stinkers but overall, a solid group. The big acquisition though was moving Arismendy Alcantara and a 4th round pick for Yordano Ventura. Alcantara was our lone prospect with the likelihood of contributing in 2014 and the prospect of adding him to middle infield of Bogaerts and Kipnis had us salivating.
However, this was also a limited window during which we could buy low on a guy who had been one of the better pitchers in baseball thus far, and while we greatly valued Alcantara, we thought pairing Ventura with a returning Mat Latos would be a huge boost to our pitching staff. We weren’t wrong either. Goldrubio has been as low as 19th in recent works and while this week is still ongoing we peaked at 13th. Many of these gains have been made on the offensive side of the ball thanks to the stellar contributions of Jon Lucroy and Brandon Moss among others, but we’ve also made progress in the pitching categories, adding four points in wins, one each in strikeouts, ERA and WHIP and another four points in saves.
Part of this progress is due to other teams selling off pieces extremely early in the season and being willing to drift back. We’re at the point where we might be looking to sell as well, but we’ve been keeping 2015 in mind the entire time. Every piece we’ve acquired has been thought of with 2015 in mind with the exception of Matt Lindstrom, who was a short-term play who got hurt almost immediately. Nevertheless, we’ve rebuffed numerous inquiries into players like Moss and Shin-Soo Choo. Neither Moss nor Choo are untouchable, but you’d be hard-pressed to see us selling on players that figure to be massive contributors going forward. I get the idea of knowing when it’s not your season and going after the best pick possible, but I think taking huge risks on prospects at the expense of guys who still have 3-5 years left in them is a short-sighted mistake that won’t help much in the short-term.
As it stands, a top-10 finish is unlikely, but that’s the goal for our squad. There could be some help in the form of some middling teams selling off players, but I also think fairly large gains have been made by GoldRubio’s pitching staff that have yet to actualize yet because of the initial benefit. There are points still out there and I’m happy enough to attempt to play spoiler for the contending teams. The plan for the future is to groom around the edges – perhaps move some periphery pieces to replace draft picks or do some two-for-one deals in an attempt to consolidate talent. In the end, a second-round pick of Bogaerts meant this wasn’t going to be an easy 2014 run in the first place, and the injuries to Parker, Kipnis, Latos, Beltran, Janssen and others made it that much tougher. While I’m already excited for 2015, I do think there’s some fun to be had yet in 2014.