clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Not Quite Superior Young Pale

New, 32 comments

Brad Hennessey was officially bounced from the starting rotation, which isn't much of a surprise. His sinker/slider combination always seemed more suited for a short relief role, and if he could show more consistency with his slider, he'd be a pretty wicked option in the late innings. Think Julian Tavarez, with a little less sink and a little more slide. And a lot more fan letters from suitors. If Hennessey has demonstrated anything this year, it's that he's hard to hit when he can locate. There's a future for him somewhere as a sixth-inning guy.

That's a pretty conventional view of Hennessey. He can help a team to some degree. He might improve a little. But, for the most part, he is what he is. A magic pill of control would help him, but only in the same fashion that it would help 50,000 other pitchers. Throwing strikes is kind of hard. Some pitchers learn to do it, others don't. Russ Ortiz can be had for a swab of Arturo McDowell's DNA and some spare change. His "if he only could find his release point!"-card expired long ago. It's certainly nothing that should ever be a given for a pitcher. Sometimes improved location is expected from a young pitcher the same way a doubles-hitting youngster is expected to develop home run power. That's just not realistic.

But there just has to be a team that looks at Hennessey, and thinks this:

  • Age - 26
  • Former first-round pick
  • 2006 ERA - 3.72
  • Career ERA - 4.34
  • Not a free agent until 2010
There just has to be a team out there with cognac-colored glasses on. With the free-agent market looking dreadful for offensive help, the Giants are going to have to consider some trades. Hennessey almost certainly has the least trade value among the young pitchers, with the possible exception of Kevin Correia, but there has to be that team out there:
  • Age - 26
  • Former first-round pick
  • 2006 ERA - 3.72
  • Career ERA - 4.34
  • Not a free agent until 2010
It doesn't have to be a downtrodden team trying to scramble for young building blocks (Royals, Pirates, etc....), though that situation certainly comes to mind first. Any team that can't get those five shiny points out of their head would want him. If there were a sixth point added -- something hinting that his low ERA is likely to be sustained in the future -- every team would be in on the bidding. Without it, the stat-oriented teams and teams that scout well aren't impressed. The hope is that there are still a handful of general managers out there who wouldn't recognize the sixth point if it hopped out of their birthday cake naked.

With Noah Lowry, Matt Cain, Matt Morris, Kevin Correia, Jonathan Sanchez, and Tim Lincecum all under the Giants control next year -- and with the Giants likely to try and find a veteran to replace Jason Schmidt as well -- there's no reason to think of Hennessey as anything other than a reliever or trade bait. If the team suddenly found itself with Cain, Sanchez, and Lincecum in the rotation, there's a good chance the bullpen would average three or four innings per game. That alone might be reason enough to keep a guy like Hennessey. It's much more likely the Giants were given a gift with Hennessey's flukish ERA, and should try to cash in over the offseason.