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.

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

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.