September 27, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Luis Mendoza (39) pitches during the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Who Gets the 5-Spot?

I responded in pretty much the same manner as the other writers on Kings of Kauffman when the Shields deal broke. Luckily, I had just posted an article and didn’t get a chance to react in this medium until today. At this point, so much has been said about the deal that just thinking about trying to write an article about my take makes me tired. So I won’t

I may not be excited about what we gave up, but I’m definitely excited about having Shields in the rotation. And yet, the greatest joy of this trade for me is that it pushes Hochevar farther and farther away from having a chance of being a regular starter for the Royals.

So far the Royals’ rotation seems to be shaping up in the following manner:

  1. James Shields
  2. Ervin Santana
  3. Jeremy Guthrie
  4. Wade Davis
  5. Bruce Chen/Luis Mendoza/Will Smith?/Luke Hochevar (Heaven help us)/Anyone else you guys can come up with.

I come to the Royals with a desperate case against Luke Hochevar. Why you tendered him a contract is beyond me, but even though you’ve wasted the money, don’t let him see the mound. Countless arguments have been made against him on this site as well as others and it doesn’t matter if you believe in advanced statistics, regular statistics or good ol’-fashioned eyeballing, Luke Hochevar is terrible.

I’m not sure what you guys think, but at this point, the options look like Bruce Chen, Luis Mendoza, or Will Smith, at least until Paulino or Duffy get back.

The thing that is confusing to me is the amount of people I’ve heard say that Chen is absolutely deserving of the 5-spot. The argument is typically followed by a comment about how Chen is “good for 10 wins a year.”

I hate this argument. Wins and losses are never indicative of a pitcher’s success. I don’t think Bruce Chen was good at all last year and with another year on him, I doubt the direction is trending upwards.

An argument could be made for Will Smith. He got some good service time with the MLB team last year, but I think that the job should Luis Mendoza’s to lose.

An E.R.A.+ of 100 is generally considered that of a league average pitcher. It’s a better stat than typical E.R.A. because it takes into account other factors affecting pitchers none the least of which is the effect different parks have on a hurler’s stat.

The pitcher with the highest E.R.A.+ of the three pitchers last season is Luis Mendoza with a 97. Will Smith and Bruce Chen weren’t even close with a 77 and an 81 respectively.

I don’t care that we still have to pay Chen a lot for a second year of a contract that never should have happened, I think Mendoza should be in line as the 5th starter unless someone comes in and completely blows up spring training.

Mendoza’s got my vote.

*I’d like to take a moment here at the end to say that my thoughts and prayers are with the families of the children and adults senselessly taken from the world this week in Newtown, CT.

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Tags: Kansas City Royals

  • LastRoyalsFan

    Ethan, I agree with your thoughts about Mendoza. Spring training is a couple months away, but at this time the #5 spot should be his to lose. As long as the Royals are stuck paying Hochevar he may have some value in the bullpen. I don’t know what they should do with Chen. I get that they needed him in 2012 and that he wanted a two year deal, but past need shouldn’t dictate future actions. Neither Chen nor Hoch should be guaranteed a spot just because they are the most expensive of the options available. If the Royals stay true to their desire to win now, they will ignore contract considerations and field the fifth starter with the best opportunity to succeed.

  • Ethan Evans

    Thanks, Man. It’ll be interesting for sure. I just hope they split with Hochevar to be honest.

  • jimfetterolf

    Agree on Mendoza, but Chen is the lone lefty. My preference is Mendoza at #5 with Chen available for the spot start in Yankee stadium and Hochevar for Fenway, but leave them both in the BP until they pitch their ways out or get traded. Barring trade, I’ld use Hoch as 7th inning set-up man and try to transition him to closer.