On Friday night against the New York Mets, Chan Ho Park continued his struggles in the 2009 season. As I watched Park give up yet another home-run, something that has become a trademark of this staff, it got me thinking. When was the last time a starting pitcher was acquired by the Phillies and actually got better while with the team or even maintained their level of play?
In 2005, Jon Lieber signed a free agent contract with the Phillies. He spent three seasons with the Phillies compiling a record of 29-30 with an ERA north of 4.50.
There was the signing of Adam Eaton. For Phillie fans I don’t think I need to elaborate much on this one. At $24 million it was easily the worst signing of Pat Gillick’s time as the GM. In fact, the Phillies paid Adam Eaton nearly eight million dollars this year to just go away.
What about the trade for Freddy Garcia? In 2006, the Phillies gave up prospects Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez for Garcia. While fans were excited about the Phillies finally acquiring a proven ace, he never did live up to expectations. Garcia made only 11 starts before being placed on the DL in June of 2007. He picked up only one win in those 11 starts, a win commonly known as “the ten million dollar win” in reference to his ten million dollar salary.
In 2008, Joe Blanton came to the Phillies midseason. He was 4-0 in 13 starts with a 4.20 ERA with the Phillies. Now in 2009, after a full offseason in the Phillies program, he has started 0-2 with an 8.41 ERA and will be making his fifth start today.
During the offseason, the Phillies signed free agent Chan Ho Park. Park has amassed an 8.57 ERA through his first four starts with the Phillies.
What is the one constant amongst these starters? Pitching coach Rich Dubee. Dubee is in his 5th season as the pitching coach of the Phillies. The only starter who has come to Philly and had any degree of success during his time here has been Jamie Moyer. I wouldn’t really credit Dubee with any of Jamie’s success. Moyer has been in the game so long, what is any pitching coach in the league going to tell him that he doesn’t already know?
I am not about to lay all the blame at the feet of Rich Dubee. However, maybe it is time to make a change in an attempt to alter the fortune of the starting pitching in Philadelphia.