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Kevin Correia and Black Friday

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The second part of our investigation into Outrightasia! will focus on…lessee…uh, don’t mind that he’s gone…don’t mind about that guy…hope that guy does well, but somewhere else…ah! Kevin Correia! I’m almost less than ambivalent about him. That’s good for about 1,500 words on the topic.

Correia was the first player from the 2002 draft to reach the majors – the Conor Gillaspie of his era! He came up and started seven games for a team that would eventually win 100 games before blowing past the Marlins and winning a championship. Correia pitched pretty well for a 22-year-old who was about a year removed from Cal-Poly. He looked as if he’d be a mid-rotation starter for years to come.

After a dismal 2004, Correia seemed to find a niche as a short-reliever. The Giants were happy with his ability to throw multiple innings as well as high-leverage innings, and the rest of the league loved Correia’s selfless decision to be the Johnny Appleseed of walk-off home runs, sprinkling cheer and victory throughout our fair land. Everyone was happy. Kind of.

Seemingly out of nowhere, the Giants decided at the end of last season to try Correia as a starter again. Even though the Giants were trying to work Tim Lincecum and Jnathan Sanchez into the rotation, they thought that Correia would be more valuable as a starter than a reliever. Giants fans everywhere were unified in their reaction to the move: Uh, okay. I guess. And heck, it actually worked. Over eight starts, Correia had a 2.54 ERA and a K/BB ratio of almost 3:1.

So that’s why it might be a little hard to accept that the Giants could just outright Correia off the 40-man roster. A lot of folks had high hopes for him this season. But his 2008 was awful. His strikeout rate plummeted, and he was of the most hittable pitchers in the league. He made close to a million dollars, and he was probably due a raise in arbitration, so this was primarily a financial decision.

But it’s worth making a case for Correia based on the following:

  • It’s not as if he was going to get $5M in arbitration. He wasn’t going to break the bank.
  • Anyone comparable to Correia will cost as much as Correia.
  • We’re used to him.
  • The Giants don’t really have a lot of in-house fifth starters. An unbroken Noah Lowry? Steve Hammond, Pat Misch, or Joe Martinez? A rushed Tim Alderson or Madison Bumgarner? It doesn’t make sense to count on any of those options. Explore, maybe. Count on, no.

Though I’m not broken up by the outrighting of Correia, it is a little weird considering the shallow pool of upper-level starters. I doubt that the Giants are counting on Noah Lowry. I also doubt that the Giants are going to make a huge investment in another free-agent starting pitcher, especially with the top four starters under contract through at least 2010, and Bumgarner and crew a couple of years away. Which means that after Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez, and Zito, the Giants are planning to find their fifth starter…

You see, the Giants are obviously going to…

What in the heck are the Giants planning?

I’m not sure they really know at this point, either. And if there’s an injury? Look out. Matt Palmer* time. So I’m hoping the Giants are able to re-sign Correia. Cut him some slack because of his freak oblique tweak, and put him in the back of the bullpen, says I. If the team needs an emergency starter, the team could do worse. The devil you do know instead of the devil you don’t, and all that. And maybe – just maybe – Correia finds the stuff that made him such a promising rotation option twelve months ago.

Also, this column was a piece of satire that obviously flew over your heads. Suckers.

*Note: Actual Matt Palmer may vary.