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Dispelling the Myth of Trading Four Aces

I was inspired to do this post when I was driving back to Houston from TBIA Thursday afternoon, all aglow over a walkoff home run by Chris Davis to give Matt Harrison a well deserved "W."  I was listening to Ben & Skin on 105.3 after the game, as they were fielding calls on the game and the Rangers, and was amazed at the number of people who called in to say, in essence, "Yeah, they are winning, but just think how much better the Rangers would be doing right now if Jon Daniels hadn't given away Edinson Volquez, John Danks, Armando Galarraga and Chris Young.  Daniels traded away four aces, and if he hadn't done that, we'd be doing even better right now."

So I started to do a post about this on Friday, and then stopped, figuring I should not tempt fate by doing this post on the eve of a big weekend series against the Angels, because I could do this and then see the pitching suck and the Angels sweep the Rangers and all the positive vibes go circling down the drain.

So I decided to wait to do this on Monday, just to be safe. 

Let's take a look at what the Four Aces Daniels supposedly gave away have done this season, compared to what the current Ranger rotation is doing:

Current starter ERA FIP Traded starter ERA FIP
Millwood 2.93 4.59 Danks 4.82 4.24
Padilla 4.71 4.86 Volquez 4.25 5.22
McCarthy 5.92 6.67 Young 5.56 4.62
Harrison 4.23 4.45 Galarraga 5.62 5.45
Feldman 2.17 3.06








And as a point of clarification, for Feldman, we are looking at just his performance in the rotation.  And these are all raw numbers, not adjusted for league or park.

So, yeah...McCarthy has been pretty bad, and we'd all ask for a do-over on the Danks trade right now.

But still, all in all...whether you look at ERA or FIP, the traded guys don't have an edge on the guys still here.  Daniels didn't trade four aces -- at least not based on what they've done so far this year. 

So Joe from Burleson and Eddie from Grand Prairie, and whoever else was calling in complaining about how much better the 2009 Rangers would be with the four starting pitchers are wrong.

And realistically, while I expect Danks and Volquez to bring their FIPs down -- and likely Young as well -- I think that, all in all, the Rangers wouldn't be significantly better the rest of the way rolling with the four guys that are in the right hand column instead of the five guys that are in the left hand column. 

And to be clear, the purpose of this post is not to defend the trades that sent the guys in column B away -- I'd do the Volquez trade over again in a heartbeat, but the other three, no question, we'd like to get back if we could.

But the reality is that if you subtract the guys who are currently in the rotation -- or even four of the guys who are currently in the rotation -- and replace them with the four guys who are gone, this team isn't any better so far this season, and likely isn't going to be significantly better for the rest of the year.