(Ed. Formatting problems fixed. Sorry about that.)

First, I’d like to say I really enjoyed reading the discussion in yesterday’s comments. Work means I’m not going to get much of a chance to chime in on these, but I will read when I get the chance. Now, let’s have an argument.

Okay, I know, I know. Recent performances have pretty much guaranteed Homer Bailey the job as 4th starter. Still, it’s fun to argue, so why not argue? First, let’s start with the esteemed Steve Mancuso and his case for Homer Bailey, then I’ll make the case for Mike Leake.

Why Homer?
A reasonable case could be made that Homer Bailey should start ahead of Bronson Arroryo and Mike Leake in the postseason, but he has certainly earned at least the #4 slot. If you favor old-school stats, Bailey leads Mike Leake in W-L (11-9 vs. 8-9), ERA (3.93 vs. 4.69) and strikeouts (142 vs. 112).

Bailey leads Leake in quality start percentage (68% vs. 57%), as well. Six times this year, Homer left the game with a lead that the bullpen lost vs. only once for Leake. He has definitely done better, more often, in giving the Reds a chance to win the game.

Looking at more advanced stats, Homer has an edge in FIP (4.16 to 4.40), BAA (.268 vs. .286) and K/9 (7.06 vs. 6.04). Homer also has a considerable edge in WAR, at both Fangraphs (2.1 vs. 1.5) and Baseball Reference (1.7 vs. .5). Remember that this stat takes into account offensive and fielding contributions, as well as pitching.

Homer is also finishing the season strongly. He has the lowest ERA (1.66), FIP (3.10), BAA (.177), WHIP (.083) and highest K/9 (9.14), on the entire starting staff in September.

Finally, Bailey has more experience, including having already pitched in the postseason in 2010. Homer has quality starts this year against Washington, San Francisco, Atlanta, the NY Yankees, Detroit, the LA Dodgers and the Cardinals. I like his odds better than those for Mike Leake of coming up big on a large stage.

Why Leake?

Let me introduce you to my friend xFIP. xFIP is just like FIP (fielding-independent pitching) except that it brings home run rates back to reality. There’s still some debate as to how much a pitcher controls the homers he gives up, but one thing isn’t debated: If more than 10 or 11 percent of your fly balls turn into homers, something weird is going on.

Mike Leake’s HR/FB rate? 17.4 percent. That, Reds fans, is bad luck. It’s also why Mike Leake sports a lower xFIP (3.73) than Homer Bailey (4.10).

Here’s another question: which stat does the best job of predicting future ERA? Is it it ERA, FIP, or xFIP? The answer, you have probably guessed is xFIP. This means that, going forward, we should expect Mike Leake to out pitch Homer Bailey. Even if we want to assume Leake is homer-prone (his career rate is significantly above average), we still have to see this as no more than a wash.

But there’s more to it. Homer, you are probably aware, has had his fair share of injuries. He’s been healthy this year, but if you see the two as, at best, equivalent (I do), why take the chance? Leake has never been hurt. He’ll pass his previous innings high with his next start, but he threw more innings than Bailey in ’09 and ’10. So who’s the better bet to not break down?

Look, I fully understand that this decision has already been made. I also understand that Bailey’s uselessness as a reliever factors in, but when it comes down to it, I’d rather have Mike Leake as my fourth starter because, when I filter out luck, I see a better, more durable option than Homer Bailey.

About The Author

Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.

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47 Responses

  1. Drew Mac

    I don’t care about durability in the playoffs. That is what the long man is for. I would have to go with Bailey, hands down. In my mind, both can be good, bad, and ugly on any given day. However, Bailey, even in his “bad” outings, typically seems to at least keep the game manageable. I do not get this sense from Leake. While he has shown some very limited flashes of dominance, when he is not “on,” it gets ugly in a hurry. Of course, this would be undesireable in a playoff game. Granted, this is in no way a sabermetric analysis. However, I have to go with Dusty (I can’t believe I just typed that) on this one.

  2. Larry1980

    Its amazing how everytime u want to tear apart either of these guys, the next time they start, they’ll pitch great, Leake had a bad start against Philly, then next start against the Cards he was great. Bailey was awful against the Cards, since he has been great, that is why this is being discussed.

  3. dn4192

    For me the decision also needs to include where they would pitch. so far this season Homer has pitched much better on the road, but in the NLDS his turn would come at home where I would be a bit more comfortable with Leake. In the NLCS should we make it I would go with Homer as he would be pitching on the road.

  4. pinson343

    Jason, as a big fan of Mike Leake I appreciate your making the case for him. But after reading your argument, I’m still with Homer as the 4th starter. Subjective or not, I think he’s a better pitcher.
    I’m not providing the analysis to prove this, but as stated above by Drew Mac, when Leake is not on, “it gets ugly in a hurry.” He relies more than Homer on pinpoint control, and has less of a margin for error.

    Having said that, I really want to see Mike on the postseason roster, and not as a pinch runner or PHer, but in the pen. I prefer him as the long man to Simon simply because he’s a better pitcher.
    This is not a putdown of Simon. Leake’s arguably a better pitcher than any of the relievers not named Chapman. He has to face hitters 3-4 times a game, not one. I understand that he’s not necessarily a better RELIEF pitcher than those guys, especially due to lack of experience, but I’d take him over Ondrusek and Arredondo any day. He can pitch and he has ice in his veins. He’d be a good choice in an extra inning game, and not just because he can hit.

  5. BloodyHo

    With the hokey format and schedule concocted on the fly by MLB, the 4th starter may have a dramatic impact in the NLCS & WS, but I guess this discussion is limited to just the NLDS with the discussion regarding the NLCS & WS pending the NLDS.

    I view both Leake and Bailey as solid #4 starters. Both are capable of solid performances but both are also capable of tanking at the most inopertune time. I would opt for Bailey simply because I think he represents less risk for digging a hole that the Reds may hnot be able to overcome in his one possible start of the NLDS. I would have both of these pitchers on a short leash from the very start of the game since this would be in game #4 of the NLDS and the bullpen is simply solid to finish the game from any point.

  6. pinson343

    Why is it assumed that Bailey is “useless” as a reliever ? I don’t want him in the pen for the playoffs, I want him to start, but that’s not the point.

    Yes he’s slow to warm up. I have no idea how slow, but let’s assume, relative to other relievers, very slow (25 pitches ?). This would make his being in the pen a problem in the course of a 162 game season. But we’re talking about a short series. His being slow to warm up would mean that you’d need to give him more advance time, limiting flexibility somewhat.

    My favorite (and only) example. In game 3 of the 2010 NLCS, the Reds were behind 2-0 in the bottom of the 5th. So Dusty knows they need to PH for Cueto and gives Homer plenty of time to warm up. Homer came in and pitched 2 impressive innings.

  7. vanwilder8

    I think Homer should be the #4.

    But I still think Leake makes the roster, as he could be the long man (especially if Cueto doesn’t get his sh!t together).

    Plus, he’s one of the best bats off the bench and at worst gives you some flexibility to pinch run with him.

  8. Steve Mancuso

    xFIP normalizes a pitcher’s home run rate (HR/FB) back to a league-wide average of approximately 9.5 percent. The statistic is informative because sometimes the home runs a pitcher gives up are a matter of bad luck. That bad luck shows up when one year a pitcher has a home run rate of 7 percent and the next year of 12 percent. xFIP eliminates that chance factor. It estimates an ERA for the pitcher IF he gives up a normal amount of home runs per fly ball.

    BUT, some pitchers have home run rates that are consistently above average and there is no reason to believe that luck is the primary factor. Unfortunately, Mike Leake falls in that category.

    Leake’s home run rate this year (17.4 percent) is way higher than average. But his home run rate every year has been well above average – 13.2 percent in 2010 and 13.9 percent in 2011. Again, league average is around 9.5 percent.

    So while some adjustment for Leake – say reducing his home run expectation from 17% to 13.5% – might be warranted, reducing the expectation all the way to league average is completely unjustified.

    Conclusion: xFIP is not an appropriate statistic to predict Mike Leake’s pitching performance going forward.

  9. AnnapolisHoosier

    If the Reds open up in San Francisco you could make a strong case for Latos pitching game ` in San Fran and Bailey Game 2. Come back and throw Cueto, Arroyo and then if necessary Latos in Game 5. Latos has been great against the Giants, especially in SF, and Bailey has been much better on the road. I know it won’t happen.

    • pinson343

      If the Reds open up in San Francisco you could make a strong case for Latos pitching game ` in San Fran and Bailey Game 2. Come back and throw Cueto, Arroyo and then if necessary Latos in Game 5.Latos has been great against the Giants, especially in SF, and Bailey has been much better on the road. I know it won’t happen.

      Annapolis: I really like your idea, even assuming that Cueto breaks out of his slump. There are the good arguments you make. Plus Cueto likes to pitch in Cincy, where he gives up very few HRs. Also, there is the hard reality that the Reds might lose the first two in SF. If so, you don’t want to have used up your two best starters.

      A lot of managers have used one of their best 2 starters for game 3. Joe Torre used to talk about how game 3 is key and would use one of his best for that game, such as Andy Pettite.

      A more realistic scenario is that Bronson pitches in game 2.

    • SirRibShack

      Francisco

      @AnnapolisHoosier: This is exactly what I was thinking. My only thing is that Latos kills the Giants wherever he pitches against them. Why would I rather have him getting two starts against them then Cueto? After Cueto’s last few starts I would tend to say yes.

      Also has anyone else seen this? http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/09/18/the-wild-card-game-is-going-to-be-like-baseball-on-mars/
      Basically for the play in game you get to set a 25 man roster then AGAIN for the DS. What does that mean? Teams might only take one starting pitcher for the play in game with a plethora of bench bats and relievers. These play in games are going to be interesting.

      • pinson343

        Basically for the play in game you get to set a 25 man roster then AGAIN for the DS. What does that mean? Teams might only take one starting pitcher for the play in game with a plethora of bench bats and relievers. These play in games are going to be interesting.

        Wow. Being allowed to set a roster for a single game is problematic, as you point out. I think some things will surface with the new format that will require adjustments for the 2nd time around.

      • TC

        Basically for the play in game you get to set a 25 man roster then AGAIN for the DS. What does that mean? Teams might only take one starting pitcher for the play in game with a plethora of bench bats and relievers. These play in games are going to be interesting.

        Actually, that would be pretty cool. It’s not the regular season. Throw the kitchen sink at them.

  10. Matt WI

    I’m in for Bailey, even liking Leake as well. He’s the odd man out. A tough conversation for a good player. Don’t envy Dusty or Walt there.

    Here’s something interesting… after reading Jason’s part on the HR/FB ratio, I was about to compare Leake and Arroyo. Turns out BR and Fangraphs must calculate that ratio differently, because at BR, Leake only has a 10% HR/FB ratio, and lists MLB average as 7.6%…

    That noted, and trusting Jason to know his stuff way, way, better than I know it, I still wonder this: What if Leake himself is just an anomaly to the conventional wisdom of the “10%” HR/FB ratio… given he is a control oriented pitcher, if the break isn’t there, is he just more likely to serve up gophers? Staying with Fangraphs, he had a HR/FB ratio of 13.2% and 13.9% in ’10 and ’11… well above the 10% cut-off. He’s been weird for 3 years. So maybe dragging him back down to 10% doesn’t fit as well?

    So is it possible xFIP doesn’t as accurately describe someone like Leake? Commence with filling in my logic gaps. 😀

  11. Matt WI

    @Steve Mancuso: Well Steve… you answered my questions ahead of me while I was pouring over the stats and trying to type it out. Glad to see I was on the right track.

  12. BenL

    @pinson343: I think the Bailey-bullpen question is one that is hard for us as fans to answer, because we don’t have the necessary information. Maybe it’s like you suspect and Bailey needs to throw 25 pitches. Maybe Bailey stretches for 45 minutes before he throws pitch one. I’ve never seen him warm up, so I don’t know, but routine can be important for athletes.

    • pinson343

      @pinson343: I think the Bailey-bullpen question is one that is hard for us as fans to answer, because we don’t have the necessary information.

      BenL: Exactly, this is the real point I was trying to make. And it’s why we fans shouldn’t make statements like: “Bailey is useless in the bullpen.”
      Especially when there’s a precedent that indicates otherwise.

  13. steveschoen

    Boy, I love discussions like this. For the sole reason, we are discussing us in the playoffs. And, we really can’t go wrong with either one, in my estimation.

    I do think Homer would make a better starter, at least for now (we can’t worry about the future). But, given that we possibly won’t need a 4th starter, Leake can also pinch hit and pinch run. So, IMO, with Homer, we get the better pitcher who may not see any action. With Leake, we get more versatility.

    I think this decision will be dependent upon, still, who we play against, where, what other players are on the team. Such as, if we go with Cairo and Valdez, we have to think our bench batting will be bad and, thus, take Leake. However, if we go with the better hitters for the bench, I could see us taking Homer.

    IMO, I take Homer. But, IMO, I really don’t see how we can go wrong with this.

    • BenL

      Boy, I love discussions like this. For the sole reason, we are discussing us in the playoffs. And, we really can’t go wrong with either one, in my estimation.

      😀 🙂 😀 🙂 😀 🙂

  14. pinson343

    @Matt WI: I don’t see any gaps in your logic. xFIP has to be interpreted, like any other stat.

  15. BloodyHo

    Outside consideration for a starting pitcher on the playoff roster or even consideration for a spot on the playoff roster, I have to wonder if Leake is not a real possibility for an off season trade. His 1.94 BB/9 inn & 3.11 K/BB indicates a very good potential if his 1.35 HR/9 inn can be controlled. GABP is not the place condusive to controlling HR. If Leake pitches his home games in a big park (i.e. Houston, SD, SF, LA, etc.), he could really elevate his performance to at least a #3 starter and possibly a #2, and he is young, healthy, with 2 years of ML experience & 3 more years of team control. That should be very enticing for other teams and the Reds have some solid pitching prospects very close to cracking the ML roster.

  16. SirRibShack

    @pinson343: I see both sides of it. MLB is treating it like a play off series, which technically it is. But this could really make for some long games. If you have four extra relievers you’re going to see a lot of pitching changes for every situation. Could be a nightmare.

  17. Greg Dafler

    I think Bailey is the way to go as the #4 starter. IMO, Bailey provides the team with the best chance to have a good game or at least the best chance to keep the club in the game. As Steve notes, he leads Leake in QS% and even his non-quality starts have been better than Leake’s non-quality starts.

    Bailey has had relatively few games this year where earned runs allowed was a bigger number than the number of innings he pitched. In fact, it looks like the last time he did that was back on July 31st…6 runs allowed in 3.2 innings. Overall, he’s done it just 3 times this year. If he gives up 4 runs over 5-6 innings, that’s obviously not great, but still gives the team a chance to come back and win.

    Leake dug a deep hole of more runs allowed than innings pitched most recently on Sept 5, Aug 20, and July 30th. Over the season, he has done this 5 times plus had another 3 games where he was pulled before the 5th inning due to problems with baserunners, pitch count, and/or unearned runs.

    As for home/road splits, I’d leave Bailey as the #4 starter regardless of where the game is played. His home splits are worse this year, but last year they were the same, if not slightly better at home. Noticeably, his BABIP at home and on the road were an identical .299 last year. This year, his BABIP is much higher at home.

    If the Reds sweep, then you don’t even use Bailey. Why bring him into the series earlier than 4th in the rotation? If he pitches at GABP, then he pitches at GABP, and I think he’s the best choice between the pair.

    • dn4192

      I think Bailey is the way to go as the #4 starter. IMO, Bailey provides the team with the best chance to have a good game or at least the best chance to keep the club in the game. As Steve notes, he leads Leake in QS% and even his non-quality starts have been better than Leake’s non-quality starts. Bailey has had relatively few games this year where earned runs allowed was a bigger number than the number of innings he pitched. In fact, it looks like the last time he did that was back on July 31st…6 runs allowed in 3.2 innings. Overall, he’s done it just 3 times this year. If he gives up 4 runs over 5-6 innings, that’s obviously not great, but still gives the team a chance to come back and win. Leake dug a deep hole of more runs allowed than innings pitched most recently on Sept 5, Aug 20, and July 30th. Over the season, he has done this 5 times plus had another 3 games where he was pulled before the 5th inning due to problems with baserunners, pitch count, and/or unearned runs. As for home/road splits, I’d leave Bailey as the #4 starter regardless of where the game is played. His home splits are worse this year, but last year they were the same, if not slightly better at home. Noticeably, his BABIP at home and on the road were an identical .299 last year. This year, his BABIP is much higher at home.If the Reds sweep, then you don’t even use Bailey. Why bring him into the series earlier than 4th in the rotation? If he pitches at GABP, then he pitches at GABP, and I think he’s the best choice between the pair.

      Given Bailey’s numbers at GABP this year are you really okay with him over Leake in game four of the NLDS? I am not thrilled by his overall numbers in GABP and would rather go with Leake if it goes 4 which I think it will as I see the series going 5

  18. TC

    Geesh Jason. How did you get stuck taking Leake’s position over Bailey? Lose a bet? There is NO WAY Leake has out-pitched Bailey. I don’t need stats to tell me that. My eye tells me. Consider, just consider now, if you take the three really bad games (two of the very early in the season) out of Bailey’s stats. I’d sure he’d be right up there with Latos and Cueto.

    If Bailey doesn’t have a bad game, he is really, really tough. And if memory serves (which I’m finding isn’t what it used to be) it seems to me he doesn’t have bad games against good teams.

    On a different point, there have been years (2003-2005 I think) that any of these starting pitchers would have been the #1 of that staff. In 2006 Leake would have been #2 after Harang. All of them have been pretty solid.

    • pinson343

      TC: On a different point, there have been years (2003-2005 I think) that any of these starting pitchers would have been the #1 of that staff.In 2006 Leake would have been #2 after Harang. All of them have been pretty solid.

      Absolutely. The Reds opening day starting pitcher in 2003, the first game ever in GABP, was Jimmy Haynes. That season he went 2-12 with a 6.30 ERA. The “ace” for a few years was Paul Wilson. Leake is so much better than those guys that it’s silly.

      Going further back, in 1998 Dave Burba was going to be the opening day pitcher (ugh), but then he was traded for Sean Casey just before the season started.

  19. TC

    More to that point, my perception of good pitching was so skewed by 2005 that I started thinking a pitcher pitching an ERA in the .400s was pretty good. Now, a pitcher with a .400 ERA is our #5 and lucky to be on the team. A pitcher in the .300s is okay. I want .200s now. Wow, the Reds pitching has come a LOOOOOOOONG way in 6 years.

  20. CI3J

    So if I understand this argument correctly, it’s that Homer has out pitched Leake according to every conceivable stat, but it’s just because Leake has been “unlucky”?

    So….You want the “unlucky” pitcher to pitch in the playoffs, hoping his ” bad luck” will suddenly regress to the mean?

    Ok then.

    Glad you aren’t making these decisions for the team.

    • Greg Dafler

      Glad you aren’t making these decisions for the team.

      Yes, as TC noted, we’re drawing straws or volunteering who defends which players in this series. I’m thinking of taking the Miguel Cairo defense for our post on the bench. It doesn’t mean I would make that decision. I haven’t seen everyone else’s arguments for the other possibilities yet.

      • pinson343

        Greg: I’m thinking of taking the Miguel Cairo defense for our post on the bench. It doesn’t mean I would make that decision.

        I’d enjoy reading that. It’s doubtful that you would sway my opinion, but an argument can be made and I’d like to see what you come up with.

  21. TC

    @CI3J: He had the unfortunate duty to argue for Leake. It’s not Jason’s fault. He had to come up with something. Actually, I’d feel pretty good about Jason making decisions.

    • CI3J

      @CI3J: He had the unfortunate duty to argue for Leake.It’s not Jason’s fault.He had to come up with something.Actually, I’d feel pretty good about Jason making decisions.

      Then in that case, I’m glad YOU don’t make decisions for the team either.

  22. hermanbates

    My feelings are thus: Homer Bailey and Mike Leake are guys we typically talk about as giving “gutsy” performances. Homer’s gutsy performance is 2-4 runs, a lot of walks and high stress innings, with a lot of k’s and 6-8 total innings pitched. Leake’s gutsy performance is getting shellacked and not quite backing down from hitters, still attacking. A gutsy Leake performance is him giving up 3-5 runs, not to many walks, not too many k’s and 6-7 innings pitched. I’d take Homer’s gutsy outing over Leake’s gutsy outing.

    Secondly, I’d rather have Homer all amped up on adrenaline than Leake. When Leake throws harder than he should, his pitches flatten out, his breaking stuff doesn’t bite and everything hangs out over the meat of the plate. Homer on adrenaline is him pumping 95 mph fastballs over the plate with a devastating splitter and a hard breaking curve. That’s just because of the way they differ, Leake being corners and finesse, with Bailey being overpowering and shutdown.

    Leake is one of my top 3 favorite Reds. I never feel bad about sending Leake out there, because he’s going to compete. But the difference I’ve seen in this years relaxed Homer Bailey is what I’ve been hoping he’d become for years now. I personally give the ball to Homer in game four, with Leake sitting this first series out. In NLCS, a longer series, I add Leake to the roster in the instance that he has to replace a shoddy anyone. But for the NLDS, if we have to go to four, I give the ball to Homer and tell him to mow ’em down.

  23. Matt WI

    @CI3J: It was very clear it was just meant as fun… it’s just nice to see different ways of looking at things. No need to attack the him about making decisions. It was an exercise, not a belief statement.

  24. Matt WI

    @CI3J: Were you never in a class where you were asked to take one side or the other, whether or not you believed it? Relax. This was supposed to just be fun. He said that in the post for crying out loud. No reading between the lines needed.

  25. pinson343

    @Matt WI: Right, in debate class (or on the team) you could be asked to present one side of an argument for one debate, and then take the opposite side for the next debate. The ultimate victory was winning both sides.

    Would there have been so much active and fun posting today if Jason had argued for Bailey over Leake ? Don’t think so.

  26. pinson343

    @hermanbates: Homer does have more poise this year, you can see it. When an umpire cheats him out of a called strike, he just takes a few seconds to absorb it and then resumes like nothing happened. He should teach that to Mat Latos.

  27. cliff

    To me it comes down to this: This year, I feel like we’re in the game every time homer takes the mound, whereas I pray for our best lineup and an opposing starter we can mash every time leake starts.

  28. Zach

    If I had to argue for Mike Leake… I would have just argued for him as a pinch hitter that happens to stand near the mound sometimes. He has a higher offensive WAR than Cairo since 2010. His career BA is .270 and is OBP is .305.

    But hey — Playoffs. Redlegs. Awesome.

  29. Greg Dafler

    @dn4192: Yes, I am OK with Bailey over Leake starting a playoff game at GABP. They have a larger body of evidence than the 14-15 games pitched at home this year.

    • dn4192

      @dn4192: Yes, I am OK with Bailey over Leake starting a playoff game at GABP. They have a larger body of evidence than the 14-15 games pitched at home this year.

      Wouldn’t it be wiser given how Bailey has pitched this year to go with say Latos in game one in SF, Bailey in Game 2 in SF and then Cueto/Bronson/Latos at home in games 3-4-5?

  30. CI3J

    @Matt WI:

    Yes, I know it was meant in good fun. So we’re my comments.

    I’m not attacking anyone here. Relax.

  31. Matt WI

    @CI3J: I don’t think your comments played how you thought they played. Noting that sarcasm is hard to display, I’ll take you at your word, but I can’t help think of the Princess Bride. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means .

  32. Jason Linden

    I’ll check in here briefly and note that, yes, I would take Bailey over Leake now. That wasn’t the case a few weeks ago when I conceived of this series. The last few bad starts from Leake have really pulled their season numbers apart.

    Steve is right that xFIP is probably not the best stat to assess Mike Leake, but Leake has been unlucky this year. I never understand the people who deny the role of chance in baseball.

    All this said, I will absolutely not be surprised if Mike Leake has a better career than Homer Bailey.

    Again, I’ve really enjoyed the comments. I’m sorry I can’ participate more actively, too much on my plate at work right now.

  33. CFD3000

    I always seem to be late to these threads, but I find it interesting that no one has commented on how they’ve been pitching LATELY. Not only do Homer’s numbers look better overall, but his recent outings look a LOT better. Remember there was a time we were all a bit nervous about Latos, then we were touting Cueto for NL Cy Young. Right now it’s Cueto we’re a bit nervous about and Latos that we’re thinking might be the one to give two starts. My how times change. It’s Bailey. Clearly.

    Two other slightly related comments – I’m intrigued by BloodyHo’s thoughts on Mike Leake as a trade candidate. My gut says no, my head says maybe…

    And Pinson343, I’m shocked that Jimmy Haynes was the opening day starter in 2003. I was at that game (Johnny Bench sat about 10 seats from me and George W. Bush’s father was a stand-in VIP for the President to open the stadium), and if you hadn’t let me look it up I’d have sworn Paul Wilson was on the mound that day. Love the vagaries of memory…