Sunday, December 23, 2007

Another Durbin

The Phils signed former Tiger pitcher Chad Durbin, not to be confused with J.D. Durbin, who already was in Philadelphia. The move doesn't seem to be generating much excitement in Philly, but I think it's a solid signing for the Fightins.

Durbin was awful in his first 3 outings for Detroit last season, but better the remainder of the campaign. If you toss those first 3 games, his ERA was 4.03 the rest of the way. On the downside, he doesn't strike out many batters and has a tendency to give up the long ball, which can be deadly in the Zen.

Generally, he was effect when moved to the bullpen after serving as a starter early in the season. In fact, his 5 later spot starts were generally poor.

Here is a breakdown of Durbin's stats. Through his first 14 games, all starts, he posted a 4.37 ERA. Again, remove the horrendous first 3 and for the next 11 starts he was 6-2 with a 3.06 ERA -- not too shabby.

His five spot starts toward the end of the season resulted in a 6.76 ERA.

As a reliever in 17 games, Durbin posted a 4.18 ERA.

Some of Durbin's late season woes might be from fatigue. He pitched 127.2 inning, which isn't a lot, but was his most in the bigs since 2001. He had only 83.2 IP in the majors in 2002-06. It also could be he didn't adjust well to bouncing between the bullpen and rotation.

Another reason for concern is his BABIP last season was .276, which is low, so he might have had some luck on his side or benefited from Comerica and the Tigers' defense.

Nonetheless, the Phils only committed a year and $900,000 in Durbin, which in my mind makes him a worthwhile signing with what's available. You can't dislike a pitcher that posted a 3.06 ERA during an 11-start span, or a 4.18 ERA in long relief. In 2006, he made 28 starts at Triple-A Toledo and was 11-8 with a 3.11 ERA.

He might be best suited for the pen, but gives the Phils another arm to evaluate for the No. 5 spot. And he's only 30.

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