Over the past couple weeks, the Pirates unloaded four veteran relievers who had helped contribute to a solid bullpen in 2010. Yesterday, in an attempt to solidify the disrupted pen, the Bucs claimed Chris Resop and Chan Ho Park off waivers. The Resop addition was applauded by most, but critics have scoffed at the decision to bring in Park. I have spent parts of the morning wondering why.
I completely understand the natural, unenthusiastic knee-jerk reaction to seeing the phrase, “Pirates claim Chan Ho Park off waivers.” When I saw the news, I was actually surprised that Park was still in the league. But let’s take a closer look at his numbers.
The three most important things for a pitcher to do are strike batters out, avoid walks and keep the ball on the ground. xFIP is a simulated ERA based on those three stats. Here are the 2010 numbers for five unidentified pitchers. See if you can figure out which one is Park, and which four are the veteran relievers who have left Pittsburgh in the past couple weeks.
Park may have an ERA of 5.60 this year, but his peripheral numbers are very solid. His largest issue has been a propensity to serve up the long ball, which likely can be explained by pitching in the homer-prone Yankee Stadium. A switch to the National League and a more neutral home field should do wonders for that inflated ERA.