Monday, March 30, 2009

30 A's in 30 Days – Michael Wuertz

Acquired: Traded from Chicago (NL) (February 2, 2009).
Contract: One year thru 2009. Eligible for arbitration after 2009 season.
Position: Middle inning anonymity.

Projected ERA: 3.98

Over/Under: In 262 career big league innings, Wuertz has struck out 270. His home run per nine innings rate is less than one and his career ERA is 3.57. Still, the Cubs farmed him out to Triple-A for extended periods in two of the last three seasons. Wuertz has had a brutal first spring with the A's (10 ER in 9 1/3 innings), but he's fanned 13 batters. No f'ing clue what to make of this guy. His sliderrific ways could bring back memories of Kiko Calero. His recent "better against righties" tendency could evoke the ghost of Jim Mecir. For A's fans, these aren't good things. OVER.

By the Numbers: 265 – Number of relief appearances Wuertz made with the Cubs, which was eighth most in franchise history. The short list includes names like Lee Smith and Bruce Sutter. I think I speak for all hardcore baseball fans, when I say "thank you, Tony LaRussa" for bringing bullpen micromanagement into sixth through ninth innings of every game. Without it, names like Wuertz and Paul Assenmacher wouldn't get to share relief pitching real estate with a pair of debatable Hall of Famers. (Yes, I know Sutter IS in.)

Surefire '09 Prediction: I will get NO credit for introducing the catchphrase, "Hey, it could be Wuertz" into the 2009 lexicon of A's fans. Y'see, we'll use it whenever one of our relievers struggles or blows a save. For example: Brad Ziegler gives up a 500-foot walk-off bomb to end a game. I'll turn to m'boy Smitty and say, "Hey, it could be Wuertz". I imagine we'll both laugh uproariously, thereby turning our post-game frowns upside down.

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