Old pitchers

By Jason Wojciechowski on December 18, 2005 at 8:42 PM

Over at Athletics Nation, there was a lot of debate about whether the signing of Esteban Loaiza was a good idea. You know my feelings on the matter from my earlier post. Here's a link to the most recent thread that I was involved in on this debate.

The last comment that I responded to was this:

Roger Clemens Pedro Martinez John Smoltz Jose Contreras Randy Johnson Kenny Rogers Tom Glavine Paul Byrd

All of them are as old or older than Loaiza. All of them were amongst the most effective starting pitchers in the league.

"Cherry-picking will make any group look good," is the gist of my response. Let's instead take a look at all the pitchers in the league last year who were 34, 35, or 36 (the ages Loaiza will be through the life of this contract).

Alvarez, W3524.05.57
Astacio, P3567.05.23
Astacio, P3559.73.24
Batista, M3474.74.56
Borowski, J3411.06.27
Borowski, J3435.33.47
Bottalico, R3541.75.06
Byrd, P34204.34.23
Carrasco, H3588.32.69
Castillo, F364.310.65
Christiansen, J353.72.64
Christiansen, J3542.05.55
Creek, D3622.37.01
Darensbourg, V3422.32.93
DeJean, M3425.76.63
DeJean, M3436.73.00
Eischen, J3536.33.77
Embree, A3514.38.16
Embree, A3537.77.09
Fox, C348.06.42
Guardado, E3456.33.71
Hasegawa, S3666.74.18
Helling, R3449.02.51
Herges, M3521.04.56
Herges, M358.012.23
Jarvis, K353.313.32
Kida, M362.04.47
Koo, D3623.04.76
Lieber, J35218.34.35
Ligtenberg, K349.712.73
Mahay, R3435.76.12
Martin, T352.318.65
Mecir, J3543.33.53
Miceli, D3418.35.10
Mussina, M36179.74.39
Myers, M3637.33.08
Nomo, H36100.76.76
Percival, T3525.05.61
Quantrill, P3632.06.29
Quantrill, P3631.73.74
Quantrill, P365.311.58
Reyes, A3462.72.52
Rhodes, A3543.32.95
Rincon, R3537.34.56
Rivera, M3578.32.06
Rueter, K34107.36.29
Seanez, R3660.32.99
Sele, A35116.05.80
Shouse, B3653.35.39
Springer, R3659.05.24
Sturtze, T3478.04.66
Takatsu, S3628.75.72
Takatsu, S367.72.58
Trachsel, S3437.04.92
Villone, R3540.33.20
Villone, R3523.77.50
Walker, P3684.03.54
Weathers, D3577.73.96
Weber, B3512.37.51
White, R3675.04.63
Wickman, B3662.02.75
Williams, T3476.33.80
Yabu, K3658.05.20

Players appear more than once if they pitched for more than one team.

For what it's worth, the only team without a player on the list is Kansas City. And they didn't skate by with someone too old to qualify, either: no pitcher for the Royals was older than 33 this year.

That's not really a list of impressive numbers. Let's cut it down and see what the list of starting pitchers looks like.

Astacio, P3567.05.23
Astacio, P3559.73.24
Byrd, P34204.34.23
Castillo, F364.310.65
Helling, R3449.02.51
Lieber, J35218.34.35
Mussina, M36179.74.39
Nomo, H36100.76.76
Rueter, K34107.36.29
Sele, A35116.05.80
Trachsel, S3437.04.92

So: Astacio was good half the time, bad half the time, and hurt half the time; Byrd was ok; Castillo wasn't good enough to pitch in the majors, throwing 143 innings in AAA; Helling spent most of the season in AAA, though his major league performance was good; Lieber was mediocre; Mussina was mediocre and injured; Nomo was bad; Rueter was bad; Sele was bad; and Trachsel was mostly injured, but unimpressive when healthy.

That's a really unimpressive group of age-comparable pitchers, and that's exactly why I'm so unoptimistic about Loaiza's chances.