At the age of 24 J.A. Happ of the Phillies was in AAA where he complied a 4-6 record with a 5.02 ERA. At the age of 25, also in AAA, he improved to 8-7 with a 3.60 ERA, and also had a “cup of coffee” with the Phillies where he went 1-0 with a 3.69 ERA in 31 innings. However at age 26, he had his “breakout year” and went 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA while pitching more innings that he ever had (166).
I point this out because 2009 was Happ’s 6th season in the Phillie system. 2010 will be Scott Elbert’s 7th season, Eric Stults’ 9th, James McDonald’s 6th (as a pitcher), Charlie Haeger’s 9th professional season, and Carlos Monasterios’ 5th pro season. It’s not foolish or wishful thinking to believe that one, maybe two of these guys could step up and fill a rotation spot. I’m sure that the Dodgers would rather not COUNT on this, but the fact of the matter is that one of those pitchers could easily step up and make it happen.
I would guess that Charlie Haeger would be the top candidate for the 5th spot, but who can deny James McDonald’s outstanding stuff? It could be his time to” go J.A. Happ!” This is what makes baseball so much fun – just when you think you have it figured out, YOU DON’T! These kids just have a way of stepping up when you least expect it.
I am going to go one step further and say that I still believe there could be a three or four-way trade involving Russ Martin, Jon Broxton, George Sherrill and prospects, which would net us a Top Starter. If his market stays suppressed, the Dodgers could then sign Molina to a two-year deal.
Around the League:
- The Giants got the LH power bat they were seeking by signing Aubrey Huff (be still my heart). He is capable of having a very good year now and again, but he’s a journeyman…
- The Reds allegedly have signed Aroldis Chapman. Hummmmm…