Yesterday, there was a really great discussion in the main thread about leveraging pitchers and whatnot. One of the thoughts that consistently came through was how much everyone loved the way Carpenter pitches on more than usual rest. The guy goes from his normal, T-1000 mode to something more akin to Voltron. (Sorry for the Sci-Fi reference-o-rama there, but Carpenter tends to put me in the mind of some kind of Cyborg, both his pitching prowess and his post game interview style. I love the guy, but I've heard enough about executing pitches down in the zone, for the love of god.) Given Carp's propensity for excellence on extra rest, and the possible need for extra innings to be found in the latter portion of the year, I was thinking about Blake Hawksworth.
If Hawksworth starts off the year well in Triple A, I wonder if a midseason call up would be good. Bring him up and make him the swing guy. He could make a start maybe every other time through the rotation, and throw long inning situations otherwise, sort of an apprentice role. Similar to the way Wainwright was used last season early, but without the movement toward later inning work. Having him as a semi full-time sixth starter would ensure extra rest here and there for the other guys, keeping down inning totals on the kids, keeping the vets fresh, and giving Carpenter more time in the Blazing Sword zone. You could bump whoever has been the least effective guy up to that point in middle relief, be it Franklin or a lefty or whoever, or, better yet, execute a trade to shore up the offense with a bullpen arm or two, then have the Hawk step in. He would get a nice audition sort of season and everyone would have a better idea of what to expect going into 2008.
So, to summarize: Lower innings for pitchers with durability concerns, that all important extra bit of rest for the team's biggest pitching weapon, the team would get a great look at a possible future starter, Hawksworth would be able to get a handle on exactly what it takes to be a major league starter in a situation where he isn't likely to sink the team entirely if he struggles, and the team might be able to leverage those extra innings into a trade with some of the other available guys.
Am I crazy here? Or does this seem like a pretty decent possible use of resources to anyone else?
Of course, he'll probably get shelled or his arm will literally fall off now, just to spite me.
One last thing: I realize that if Mulder comes back in July, we could end up with the same kind of arrangement with he and Looper. I'm ignoring that possibility because, until I see Mulder starting minor league games and having success, I'm not considering him a part of this year's roster at all, an approach I think the Cardinals would be wise to use as well. There are just too many variables on a guy trying to come back from a major surgery and be a factor to count on him until he gets a whole lot closer than Muldoo currently is. Also, I have a feeling that by that time, the Cards may need to move Looper back into a late inning role if at all possible to help out. Regardless, I'm interested to see if anyone else likes this idea.