Well Mr. Cashman seems to have pulled off the deal for his 5th starter, albeit a week after the trade deadline. Chad Gaudin is young (26), though oft-travelled, and cheap (prorated minimum for the rest of the season), and, though the player going back to the Padres hasn’t been announced, it seems likely that Cash didn’t give up very much for him. In that respect, it certainly seems like a can’t lose type of deal, but the real question is: can he fill that 5th starter hole? Let’s take a quick look at Mr. Gaudin before we make our guess in that regard.
The 26-year-old righty will be with his sixth team in as many years when he reports for the Yanks on Sunday. That’s not exactly a great sign, is it? He’s always been a bit of a tease, as several organizations have fallen in love with him, only to give up on him a year or two later. This scouting report from last year will attest to the array of skills that makes him such a tempting addition in so many trades.
- He strikes guys out: This season, he has a stellar 8.97 k/9 and he’s always had a knack for missing bats.
- Movement: This guy doesn’t throw anything straight. Though his fastball only averages about 90 (90.2 this year), he can touch 94 and his ball moves all over the place. His slider is his best pitch and drops off a table. A whopping 32% of his pitches have been sliders this year. He also throws a weird changeup that he calls a two seam change (6.6% of the time this year). This pitch has a ton of action and averages almost 85mph!
- He’s entering his prime years where many guys have breakout years.
- He also walks a ton of guys and has legitimate control issues (4+ BB/9). This may be a particular issue against patient teams like the Red Sox.
- He’s a small frame guy, only 5’10″ so he doesn’t have any projection left on his body. This also may put him in a higher injury risk pool.
- He doesn’t really change speeds. His heater is 90, his change is 85 – not much difference there. There’s a bit more of a gap on his slider (80mph), but even so, there’s no true off-speed pitch in his arsenal.
- His ERA this year is a hideous 5.13 which would typically go up almost a half-run in the switch from NL to AL. The Yanks would really like a sub-5 ERA from their 5th starter.
- There’s a reason why he’s been traded 5 times and got released by the Cubs earlier this year.
Will it work?
I’m going to vote yes on this one. I think he can pitch to a mid to high 4 ERA which Cash would be thrilled to have from the #5 man in the rotation. Why do I think this, despite the litany of issues listed above? A couple reasons:
- His peripherals are mostly promising. With a tidy 3.51 FIP and the k/9 numbers, he appears to be pitching in some bad luck. In 2007, he pitched to a 4.42 ERA as an A’s starter and he’s picked up his k/9 and FIP rates since then, so a mid 4 ERA is very attainable.
- He’s in pretty good form right now. He was awful his last start (6 runs in 3.1 against the Braves) but he allowed 3 runs or less in each of his previous 4 starts.
I think he’s definitely worth a shot and the price is right. I feel like he has a very good chance of solidifying that 5th starter spot. I wouldn’t call it a home run by Cash yet, but maybe a solid double. What do you guys think? Do you think Gaudin seems like a guy who could nail down that job.
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