Jim & Bob's Palatial Baseball Blog

Monday, February 04, 2008

Call Will Shortz...

...because I'm officially puzzled by the headline on Dr. Phil's latest piece:

Yes, you can have too much pitching
Many contenders for few vacancies on Cubs, Brewers staffs

I saw a Cubs blog this morning mocking Dr. Phil for this. Can't remember which one, sorry.

But the odd thing is...I can't mock Dr. Phil over this. Because he doesn't really say anything about the Cubs or the Brewhas having too much pitching:

Pitching depth is unlikely to decide a race between the Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers. Both of the NL Central front-runners will head to spring training with more arms than they will need.

The Cubs have five legitimate candidates for the last two spots in the rotation—Jason Marquis, Jon Lieber, Sean Marshall, Ryan Dempster and Sean Gallagher are behind Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly and Rich Hill.

The Brewers appear just as deep. They have Carlos Villanueva, Dave Bush, Claudio Vargas, Chris Capuano and Manny Parra lined up behind young stud Yovani Gallardo and veterans Ben Sheets and Jeff Suppan.

Of course, Dr. Phil doesn't really say much of anything here. All he does is list the guys who are contending for a gig in the starting rotation of both teams. He doesn't say it's bad (as the headline implies). It just is.

If you have an issue with the headline promising more than Dr. Phil delivers, blame the copy editor at the Tower. He's the guy who writes the headlines.

What did strike me as odd about this bit is how Dr. Phil has done an about-face on his previous stance regarding the Cubs' rotation. Set the Way-Back Machine for 9 January 2008:

With Ryan Dempster moving to the starting rotation, the Cubs can arguably afford to give up on Marshall, who compiled an impressive 3.92 ERA in 103 innings last season. But having already non-tendered Mark Prior and expressed a willingness to include Gallagher in this deal, the addition of Marshall to the package would further erode the depth of starting pitching in the system. [emphasis mine]

Last month, Dr. Phil worried that Hendry would "further erode" his team's pitching depth if he traded Marshall and Gallagher. Today, he offers the opinion that the Cubs have "more arms" than they will need.

If you're throwing words like "erode" around in conversations about a team's pitching depth, that rather implies you're not down with the number of arms available. Am I parsing a bit too closely? Probably. But one would think a guy who makes his living with words would choose those words carefully...

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