Thursday, April 17, 2008

An Open Letter to C.C. Sabathia

Dear C.C.,

As I've mentioned in the past, I have historically been an offensive minded fantasy baseball manager. My teams have traditionally been solid five category roto mashers with mediocre to sub par pitching performances (sort of like the Detroit Tigers). This is partially due to the fact that in my constant quest to find build a lineup that'll produce in all the major catagories, I end up delaying, round after round, those important rotation picks until I find myself with a Ted Lily or Kevin Millwood becoming the ace of my staff.

After so many years of my team pitching becoming a burden and a liability rather than a benefit, I decided to eschew my tendency to stock up on offensive talent in the earlier rounds and actually select as they say a legitimate "ace". Now that's where you come in. In the vaunted third round of the draft I put aside offensive considerations and selected you to lead my staff, to aid in brining overall balance to the team.

I mean, any reasonable fantasy owner would have pulled the trigger. You had been a model of constancy for the past seven seasons. You were in the prime of your career at age 27. You had just come off a stellar year where you won the AL Cy Young as the best pitcher in the league. You had the benefit of a potent offense on a team that was predicted to be a strong contender for the World Series. And you had the personal motivation of playing your best so you can cash in on the free agent market next year. All signs pointed to another great to at the very least good year.

Now four starts into this new season, all I have to say are three letters: W T F!?!?

Is there some injury you're hiding from us? Is there an issue with mechanics? Have you developed some psychological aversion to throwing strikes? Is there some sort of a fix in? Is Robert De Niro holding your child hostage? How can you be this awful?

Now I understand the season is still young and rough starts are not uncommon, but after watching you give up 9 runs for the second straight start, I have some cause for concern. As it stands now, you are 0-3 with a 13.50 ERA with as many walks as strikeouts (14) leading to an astronomical WHIP of 2.56. In 18 innings of work you have managed to to reach nearly half the amount of total walks (37) and losses (7) as you've had in 241 innings of work in 2007.

If I wanted to be severely underwhelmed by a former CY Young winner I would have drafted Barry Zito instead. Despite his 0-4 record his 4.50 ERA and 8:9 K to BB ratio and 1.68 WHIP (while all atrocious) are not nearly as damaging to my team overall. Drafting the corpse of Walter Johnson would have at the very least done no damage to the my overall numbers.

Now I know the Indians have been under performing thus far but you can't even play that "not enough run support card". On opening day you were staked an early five run lead you properly managed to blow. The team tried to dig their way out of that 9 run hole you created against Oakland in the in the first 4 innings but not even a 6 run 8th inning could save them. You're not on the Royals, you don't need to pitch a shutout to win, keep it 4 and under and I'm sure the team will most of the time pull it out.

Now a more imprudent owner may have already dumped you on the waiver wire to make room for a flavor of the month hot starter like Brian Bannister or Micah Owings; I cannot give up on you just yet. However as of this point though you have currently lost your starter spot until signs of improvement (i.e. until you totally screw me over by throwing a complete game shutout on the bench). To give you an idea of how bad things have gotten, I have been offered a trade in all seriousness to essentially swap you for middling innings glutton Livan Hernandez. That's right that Livan Herndandez. And while I'll hold off on that blockbuster, combined 600 pound, trade for now, I hope that it'll light a competitive fire in your belly and you'll find a way to turn that corner.

In the meantime here are a few handy tips:
  • Strikeouts? Great.
  • Walks? Bad.
  • Home Runs? Bad.
  • Grand Slams? Even worse.
  • Fly ball outs? Good.
  • Grounders? Sure why not?
  • Seven inning starts? Great.
  • Early exits? Bad.
Remember...Livan Hernandez.

Your Fake Owner,

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