Ugueth Urbina is now a Phillie. So what does he got?
After stuffing myself with jerk chicken last night at Bahama Breeze restaurant in King of Prussia, I didn’t last 10 minutes through last night’s game. So this afternoon, game coverage has been sacrificed for good meal and a solid night’s sleep. The big story anyway is still the Urbina trade. Let's talk about it.
The consensus among those who write about the Phils was that Wednesday’s deal was good one. I endorsed it Wednesday night saying that Urbina gives the team more options and security out of the pen, and in making the move sooner than later, it pulls another option out of the shallow pool of available arms, making it harder for the opposition to do the same.
Though I received nice compliments on the post, I’ll be the first to admit I fell into a trap, not because I followed majority rule, or because Urbina looked horrible last night, or because he got in a fight on Sunday. I don’t care about that stuff. I put too much stock into 2003 when he helped the Marlins win the World Series, and I looked at his ERA and saves. I should have known better.
Mike Berquist, a writer I try to emulate whenever I apply advanced stats to my opinions, came up with a great nugget yesterday on A Citizen’s Blog about Urbina’s flyball to groundball ratio. Here’s the link. Tom Goodman of Swing and a Miss also has concerns. Needless to say, he’s not the ideal guy you want pitching a close game in the small confines of Citizen’s Bank Park.
Obviously, the Phils would like to see all their pitchers keep it on the ground, but the reality is pitchers of Urbina’s moxie are hard to find. And this fact is undeniable - If they didn't get an extra body soon, Billy Wagner and Ryan Madson, already pitching too much, would start hanging them. It’s a risk they couldn’t afford, and I take comfort in knowing Urbina isn’t on the Braves.
However, a reactionary move such as this one is only proper if it’s right, and you have to ask whether Urbina was the best answer, even if the pickins were slim. I have to wonder if a GM with the leverage as Ed Wade, i.e. one with money to spend, could have wriggled out a young pitcher like Mike Gonzalez from Pittsburgh, a guy they’ll soon be hard pressed to afford. Gonzalez hasn’t given up a home run this season, and has a grounball ratio over six times higher than Urbina.
So today, I’m curious to hear from those who thought the Phils got taken, or those who have second thoughts. I don't find any shame in second-guessing myself, and there are plenty of gray areas being discussed throughout the blogosphere.
Urbina will help them more than hurt them, but my confidence in that statment changes with every new nugget I read.
There's no reason Phillies fans should feel anything but proud of what the Phils have done these last few weeks. This is shaping up to be a remarkable summer of baseball.