Thursday, January 1, 2009

Rangers Win Turnbow Sweepstakes

Free agent reliever and reclamation project, Derrick Turnbow has signed a 1 year deal with the Texas Rangers ending weeks of speculation of where his next home would be. Turnbow was also being pursued by the Marlins and Pirates, but decided to sign with the Rangers based on his relationship with pitching coach Mike Maddux, who he had previously worked with in Milwaukee.


Turnbow's career has been on the downside ever since the 2005 season when he managed to save 39 games to the tune of a 1.74ERA. He bottomed out in 2008, pitching 6.1 innings with an ERA of 16.23 and a WHIP of 4.10.

The numbers are disastrous, however there are some reasons to like Turnbow going into the '09 season as a good sleeper. First off, despite all of his struggles, he still manages more than a strikeout an inning. Let's investigate.

2005- 64K / 67.1 IP / 24BB
2006- 69K / 56.1 IP / 39BB
2007- 84K / 68 IP / 46BB
2008- 5K / 6.1 IP / 13BB

It should be noted that in his best season, 2005, Turnbow managed 64K in 67.1 IP. This tells us that Turnbow's stuff is still there and his struggles aren't due to a decrease in velocity. Clearly the physical ailment that caused Turnbow to shut down his 2008 season and rehab his shoulder was the reason for his most recent struggles. Turnbow's control problems look to be directly linked to his injury and in turn have effected his success rate and ability on the mound.

The Rangers currently have C.J. Wilson listed their closer or Frank Francisco, depending on which depth chart you look at. Wilson didn't enamored himself with management or his teammates last season and the surgically repaired bow, that ended his 2008 campaign, still might not be 100%. Francisco wound up with 5 saves last season and took the job in September when various injuries left him the last man standing in the Ranger's bullpen.

No matter who the Rangers believe their closer to be, Turnbow will have an opportunity to get in line for some saves if he can prove he can do the job. Turnbow right now is a decent end of the draft sleeper pick, and as the season gets closer, his value can only increase based on new information and his performance in spring training. I also like the Turnbow will be working with pitching coach Mike Maddux again. Maddux is already familiar with Turnbow's mound tendencies and mechanics, so hopefully this speeds up his rehabilitation time frame.

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