FanPost

"The Missile"

The full  list of non-tendered free agents is out. Swipe Brandon Claussen from the Reds—move fast, Walt!

The talk of bringing in Joel Pineiro or even Victor Zambrano is unsettling in the current market. I'm all behind a youth-movement plan this offseason. There's no veteran #2 out there, so we should stock up youthful depth where possible and see if we can strike gold. Or at least shiny pyrite to fill out a trade package late in the season if thing don't pan out.

Below is a pasted in post from my own place about an available starting pitcher who deserves a shot and has the ability to pitch at least as well as some of the veteran names being floated around. (Tomo Ohka, rotator cuff tear and all, is a good pitcher but will no doubt be offered a contract better than the one we're giving Wells.)

I'll be interested to read what the VeB community thinks.

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Compare and contrast:

4.38 ERA - 181.0 IP - 29 GS - 133:53 (2.51) K:BB - 25 HR - 6.61 K/9
4.33 ERA - 135.0 IP - 23 GS - 111:38 (2.92) K:BB - 21 HR - 7.40 K/9
The first line is Adam Wainwright's 2005 adjusted line from Dan Szymborski's MLE spreadsheet for that season. The second one belongs to his teammate, Chris Gissell. Gissell was drafted out of high school by the Cubs and left the organization as a minor league free agent after the 2002 season. He spent the next two years with the Rockies AAA affiliate, finally getting a brief and unsuccessful taste of the bigs late in 2004. He spent the 2005 season with the Cardinals' AAA affiliate. Our rotation that year was ridiculously durable and he was never needed on the major league roster. He pitched very well at the AAA level for the third straight season.

After the 2005 season, he left the US to pitch for the Seibu Lions—Daisuke Matsuzaka's team. His (incomplete) 2006 line with Seibu is here and here:

6-4 - 18 GS - 2 CG - 109.0 IP - 3.96 ERA - 85:30 (2.83) K:BB - 10 HR - 7.02 K/9
I can't find out why he pitched in so few games—I reason he didn't seriously injure himself since he pitched two effective innings in relief of rookie Hironori Matsunaga in the Lions' second game of the playoffs.

Gissell made the equivalent of $427,670 with Seibu last season. He's available and would probably be eager to get a shot at the Cardinals again, now that we've got some rotation spots to fill.  We could do a whole lot worse for a whole lot more.

PECOTA projected him for a 4.57 ERA over 109 IP with 72K:34BB in 2006. Pretty damned accurate projection of his actual performance in the Pacific League. Along with the PECOTA line, Baseball Prospectus 2006 includes this comment on Gissell:

Gissell's not going to be a star, but he's pitched well in some tough parks. He throws strikes, works quickly, fields his position well, and threw 200-plus innings with a 3-1 strikeout-walk ratio in Colorado Springs. Rather than continue taking million dollar chances on the likes of Jose Lima [or $6,000,000 for Joel Pineiro — adds Liam], a club should give Gissell the ball 15 times and see what happens. Sure, he posted an ERA north of 14.00 with the Rockies in a brief stint, but who hasn't? That's like criticizing a Kennedy for being found with alcohol and a dead hooker.

I'll end this note with two things Gissell... First, lboros of VeB conducted an interview with Memphis pitching coach Dyar Miller in 2005 in which Gissell came up:

VEB: Tell me a little bit about Chris Gissell. I know he's having a great year—it seems as if he's right up there with Reyes and Wainwright in terms of how his numbers look—but he's older, been in a few organizations. What kind of pitcher is he? I don't know much about him at all.

MILLER: Well, he was a high school draft, I think by the Cubs. This is his 9th year, I think. And he's still relatively young—26, 27. He's a fastball, slider, curve, changeup guy. You know, he really pitches like I like to teach—pitches off his fastball. He locates his fastball, moves it up and down, in and away. He could pitch a whole game just with his fastball, he's so good with that. In fact, I'm trying to get him to use more breaking stuff. He pitched last night—struck out nine guys in six innings. I think he had a two-hitter or a three-hitter going in six, and then Pickering hit a two-run homer off him. So he gave up three runs in six innings and he got the win last night for us.

What's not to like?

Secondly—and I found this really funny—Chris Gissell's Hudson's Bay High School Class of '96 reunion committee was having a hard time tracking him down. Unfortunately, he didn't have time to get to his 10-year reunion since he was pitching on the same staff as Daisuke frickin' Matsuzaka.

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Chris "The Missile" Gissell. Worth a shot, isn't he? I'd like to see fairly generous guaranteed-money split contracts offered to Chris Gissell, Brian Lawrence, and Brandon Claussen (who'd probably be still on the DL) to compete for those last two rotation spots with our in-house options of Wainwright, Tankersley, and Narveson. That rotation coming out of ST may not look like much but we'd have flexibility and more potential than we'd have with the other options out there.

¡Viva el Movimiento de Juventud!

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