Some of the bigger news from the off-season for the San Francisco Giants was new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi saying the team may consider limiting the number of innings young starters Dereck Rodriguez and Andy Suarez will throw by possibly putting them in the minors.
I, like many other fans, was a little taken aback by these comments. Dereck Rodriguez was arguably the best starter for the San Francisco Giants last year.
There was a point in the season where I was only tuning in to the games he started. He was that good. So why on Earth would they try to baby him into his second season?
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Well, it makes sense. Zaidi has done things like this before with young arms, and it appears to be the way the game is headed.
No longer are teams looking for a work horse who will start 32 games a year and rack up 200 innings or more. Now, teams are trying to be strategic in how they use their young pitchers early in their careers.
I want to see Dereck Rodriguez on the hill as much as possible, but I also don’t want to see him turn into the next Tim Lincecum or Matt Cain. I mean that in the sense I don’t want to see him go relatively injury free for the next four or five years only to have all of that work catch up with him and make his 30s an injury-riddled hell like it was for Cain and Lincecum.
But Rodriguez, being the competitor that he is, wants to go out and earn a spot in the rotation coming out of camp. He certainly has a good shot to do it given how impressive he was last year. But with a new, forward-thinking man in charge like Farhan Zaidi, nothing is certain.
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I almost like this development though. Some young pitchers may get complacent after a successful rookie year. I don’t think complacency is in D-Rod’s DNA, but it doesn’t hurt to give him a little extra motivation to go earn that rotation spot which I hope he does.