Behold the Eater of Innings

The Giants have signed Brett Tomko for their starting rotation. The best thing we can say about him is that he's not always awful.

Sometimes he's decent, like in 2002 when he pitched for San Diego. Or his rookie year in 1997 with the Reds. The Giants are touting the fact that he has thrown 200 innings in each of the past two years. Innings-eaters who sport lifetime 4.50 ERAs are good at the back of the rotation; the Giants could do worse for a 5th starter. But this also sets off alarms that Jason Schmidt's elbow might not be ready for the opening bell, which would be bad news indeed.

Of course, money's a big factor, and spending $1.2 mil on a 5th starter (with a few hundred thousand more in possible incentives) is kind of like spending $1.5 million on a weak-hitting platoon-bound right fielder.

Still, he's only 30. If he stays healthy, he could be one of those pitchers who puts it all together a little later in their career. A Tim Worrell/Jamie Moyer/Esteban Loiaza type.

Assessment: if he makes 30 starts and doesn't give up too many BB's and HR's (his Achilles' heel), he could be a decent 4th or 5th starter with a mid-4 ERA. Anything much worse, and the Giants might as well have brought up Merkin Valdez or Noah Lowry for the minimum salary. Anything better than that, and he's a steal.

If he magically turns into Vladimir Guerrero, even better.

By the way, what's all this about Vlad perhaps taking mere-mortal money to stay in the NL? 3 yrs, $30 mil from the Mets? Even I could almost afford him at that price. C'mon Pee-Mag, open the pursestrings. If the guy wants to stay in the NL and play in a Latin-friendly city, I'll personally take him out for mofongo and cabrito, or maybe some pigeon peas y arroz, then to Roccapulco to go dancing. I'll even start blogging full time in Spanish if it makes Vlad more comfortable.

Tomko boosts my Giants prospective Opening Day Roster (look right) --->>
to 25 players. No guarantee, of course, that Zerbe or Correia will make the cut. And practically everyone could be trade bait. But I'm starting to mentally fortify myself, much in the way a prisoner of war does in the days leading up to his "interrogation."


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