Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Should the Athletics Trade Justin Duchscherer?

Yesterday, ESPN baseball writer Buster Olney outlined why Justin Duchscherer should be an attractive alternate for teams looking for a top flight starting pitcher.
"Pitcher B is Justin Duchscherer. Those are his numbers from 2008. He has not pitched in 2009 after undergoing an elbow cleanup, but he is set to begin his minor league rehabilitation assignment and could be ready to pitch in the big leagues within a couple of weeks. The right-hander will be eligible for free agency this fall, and with Oakland in the process of trading off usable parts Duchscherer could be an intriguing alternative for teams that are looking for pitching help.

He has been often hurt in his career, but when Duchscherer is active and pitching, he usually fares pretty well, whether as a starter or a reliever. The 31-year-old has had four seasons of 55.2 or more innings, and his ERA has never been higher than 3.27 in those seasons. Twice he has made All-Star teams: once as a reliever, and once as a starting pitcher, most recently in 2008."
All that information is well and good, but for the life of me, I cannot understand why the Athletics would want to trade Duchscherer right now. Sure Duchscherer is a free agent at the end of the season, but can the Athletics really get anything meaningful for Duchscherer at this point? Here is a guy who has not pitched at all this season and at 31, represents nothing more than a gamble for a contending team? Why would any GM give up something meaningful for Duchscherer?

There is simply not enough time left before the deadline for Duchscherer to regain his ace status and shed the label that he is an injury prone player. From the Athletics perspective, trading Duchscherer offers a very limited potential for a valuable return.

It's unfortunate for the Athletics because if Duchscherer was able to make a few quality starts before the break, the potential return on Duchscherer would have been much higher. At that point, it might have actually made sense for the Athletics to trade him.

I honestly think the best way that Duchscherer can help the Athletics this season is for him to take some pressure of their young starting rotation and overworked bullpen (most IP in AL).


1 comment:

Charlie K said...

I agree. I don't see why any GM would take a gamble on this guy. He is a very solid pitcher when he is healthy, but health is something he hasn't had a lot of in his career. It would be a blessing to Billy Beane and the Athletics if another team out there wants Duchscherer. That way they can get some(very little)value for him instead of none. What's the chance that the A's even resign him after this season when he's a free agent. Duchscherer is making 3.9 million this year. Despite his injury riddled career, he will be looking for more than that out on the market. Billy Beane is known for bringing young players out of obscurity and making them, for the most part, competitive major league players. If the A's can move him, they should. Get a few AA players. That way they at least get something for him before he's gone. The A's have a pretty good young staff that should serve them well in the future. They dont need Duchscherer so parting ways with him now is probably the best move.