Alternative OptionsPosted: April 16, 2012
It’s still early in the year, but
Scott Proctor Chad Durbin is already on everyone’s hate list. If there is ever such thing as “Durban Time”, yesterday was it. It was the perfect mop-up situation, up late in the game, in which the Braves did not want to use a back-end guy to close the game out. He proceeded to give up three runs in the final inning to make fans sweat it out. His line so far this year is 3IP, 9H, 6ER, 3HR, 18.00 ERA. The signing at the end of spring training was a questionable at the time, especially to a contract worth $900K. It was an over reaction to Aroydis Vizcaino’s Tommy John, Cory Gearrin’s wild spring and the inexperience of Yohan Flande. They felt they needed a veteran to provide some, “veteran presence.”
Two of the names mentioned above, Gearrin and Flande have had excellent starts so far in AAA. In 4 appearances, Gearrin has shown his improved control with 8IP, 6H, 0R, 1BB, 9K. He did pitch 18 innings with the big club last year. While his 7.85 ERA might leave a sour taste in the mouths of many, his 2.59 FIP/3.41xFIP (FIP and xFIP explained) and 12.27 K/9 were very positive signs. He is a side-slinging righty who is very effective against RHB.
The other viable option is Flande, who was the reliever who essentially got replaced after Durban was signed. Since being in Gwinnett, he appeared as a reliever in the first game, but started the following two, going 3 and 5 innings respectively. It is a little confusing how the Braves plan to use him. He has also put up good numbers in AAA with 8IP, 3H, 0R, 6BB, 9K in his 3 appearances.
I believe both options would be an upgrade over Chad Durban. However, I do not see either replacing Durban at this time because of the contract he was signed to. It is hard to pay a reliever close to a million dollars and get less than a months use. I think they will keep him on the roster to squeeze whatever they can out of his contract. The sliver lining is that Durban has been so bad, that hopefully it rules him out of any high-leverage situations in the near future like he was placed in during the first week. This should save some misery in what is an already a bad situation.
Be sure to follow on Twitter: @decisions_brave