Today’s Quiz: Who’s the Worst Pitcher In Baseball?

Tim Lincecum

Tim Lincecum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who is 2-8, has a 6.07 ERA and hasn’t won a game since April?  Who has the worst ERA in Major League Baseball?  Well if you guessed Tim Lincecum, then you are absolutely correct and deserve a prize.

He has just escaped getting yet another loss after the Giants rallied in the 9th to beat the A’s in Oakland.  He pitched well, using the low standards he has set this season as a measuring stick, giving up 3 earned runs on 3 hits in 6 innings, but was on pace to take the loss until a furious rally saved him from defeat.  He’ll get credited for a quality start for the performance, though this is the bare minimum required to receive the designation.

The only other pitcher who has enough innings to qualify for the ERA title with an ERA over 6.00 is Mike Minorfor the Atlanta Braves who clocks in at 6.04.  Minor, like Lincecum, was a former high draft-pick (no pun intended on Lincecum…I don’t know what Mike smokes).  If it weren’t for Minor’s perceived large upside, he would be cut, demoted or flogged.  Such mediocrity should not go unpunished.  But Minor’s case is typical for first-round draft choices.  You’re allowing him to work through not just for this year, but for the future, as well.  Think of the children.

Jamie Moyer, getting ready to take the mound.

Lincecum is safe based on his impressive body of work.  A two-time Cy Young award winner and a World Series champion, Lincecum has the resume that makes you give him a second-through-eleventh chance.  If today’s start is any indication, hopefully he is righting the ship.  What can you do with someone who makes that much money and underperforms?  You have to let him try to work it out.  As long as the team stays afloat through his rough spells it will be all right.  We’re not going anywhere in the playoffs if he’s not on top of his game anyway.

What happens to pitchers who start slowly while being neither young nor exceptional?  Let’s look at 49-year-old Jamie Moyer’s season.  He was released on June 1st after posting a 2-5 record with a 5.70 ERA.  In baseball history he will go down as being the ‘oldest pitcher to’ do a lot of things.  This season he became the oldest pitcher to gain a win.  And therein lies the problem.  Jamie Moyer is not young.  He’s old.  A quick word search of his Wikipedia page for the word ‘old’ found that it appears, in one form or another, 28 times!  A similar search of actor Gary Oldman’s page nearly broke my laptop, which apparently can’t count over 100 (he must be ancient).  So, with no possibility of an upside, he either produces now, or he goes.  And so he went.

More Reading:

Bay Area Sports Guy discussing what to do with Tiny Tim.

Since this article was posted, Jamie Moyer has been released, again, this time by the Baltimore Orioles.  He was on their AAA team.

Moyer released by Orioles after failing to achieve promotion.

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