Aug
07

A little bit about Chad Gaudin

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Last night the Yankees acquired Chad Gaudin from the Padres to add another insurance arm. He’ll start off in the pen, but that should only be temporary. With Sergio Mitre still holding down the fifth spot in the rotation, I’d expect Gaudin to get his shot after one more uninspiring start. He does have experience both in the rotation and in the pen, so he could help in either place. So just what are the Yankees getting with Gaudin?

Drafted by the Rays in the 34th round of the 2001 draft, Gaudin shot through the minors, posting excellent numbers at Classes A, A Advanced, and AA and earned a call-up in 2003. His peripherals stunk — a 1.44 K/BB ratio — but in 12 relief appearances and three starts Gaudin racked up a 3.60 ERA, acceptable in any sense of the term. Might the Rays have stolen a viable pitcher in a late round?

Things weren’t as easy for Gaudin in 2004. He split time between AAA Durham and the Rays. His peripherals were a bit better at the major league level, but the hits started falling, causing his ERA to balloon to 4.85 in 42.2 innings over 22 relief appearances and four starts. For the Rays at the time it wasn’t terrible, but it also wasn’t encouraging that he didn’t do much better at AAA (4.72 ERA in 47.2 IP). Still, at 21 there was enough promise.

But then the Rays traded that promise to the Blue Jays for Kevin Cash. The Jays immediately put him in the AAA rotation, and then recalled him for a stint in late May, early June. Gaudin stunk, to the tune of a 12.19 ERA over three starts, spanning just 10.1 innings. Back to Syracuse it was for him, which was just fine at the time, because he was 22 and pitching well in AAA. In 150.1 innings over 23 starts, Gaudin had a 3.35 ERA, keeping his K/BB ratio in a more than acceptable range (3.2:1) and allowing less than a hit an inning. Again, promise.

Like the Rays, the Jays decided to cash in that promise, this time to the A’s for Dustin Majewski, an outfielder who is older than Gaudin and who is now in the Rangers’ system. So far we have two pretty worthless players having been exchanged for Gaudin, not a good sign for the 5’11″ righty.

The A’s, it appeared, got a steal. After four excellent starts in AAA to start the season, the A’s recalled Gaudin to pitch out of the bullpen. He did that well in terms of runs allowed, as he surrendered just 22 earned in 64 innings. His peripherals left much to be desired, as he actually walked more than he struck out (42 to 36). That has to be frustrating for the walk rate alone. So while the results were there, a crash could have been expected.

In 2007 the A’s moved Gaudin back to the rotation, where he pitched a serviceable 199.1 innings, clocking in at just better than a quality start overall (4.42 ERA). This included, mercifully, a much-improved K/BB ratio. While his walk rate was still high, 4.5 per nine, his strikeout rate also rose to 7.0 per nine. He was doing it in the AL, leading many to believe that he could be a useful back-end starter.

Gaudin started off 2008 on the right foot, starting six games and working out of the bullpen in 20, allowing 25 runs over 62.2 innings for a 3.59 ERA. His strikeout rate dipped a bit, but his walk rate plummeted, which probably led to his success. It’s also much easier on the nerves of fans and coaches. Gaudin was traded for a third time last year, as part of a six-player trade which also sent Rich Harden to Chicago. Gaudin didn’t fare well in the confines of Wrigley, allowing homers at a far greater rate than most of his career.

Still, the Cubs though it well enough to avoid arbitration with Gaudin and sign him to a one-year, $2 million contract. That was not money well spent. Before the Cubs played an official game they released Gaudin, eating the entirety of his $2 million contract. The Padres picked him up on a minor league deal, and then recalled him by the end of April. He’s worked out of the rotation for the most part, with just one relief appearance, coming in the 16th and 17th innings against Arizona earlier in the year.

What can the Yankees expect from Gaudin? Probably not much. He’s had his share of clunkers this year, and that’s what the Yankees are trying to avoid out of the fifth spot. He’s probably an upgrade over Sergio Mitre, but not significantly so. It’s just another arm who can pitch out of both the bullpen and in the rotation. He could turn out to be a useful player for the Yanks.

Categories : Players

50 Comments»

  1. Eric says:

    I know he’s been facing inferior batters, but the Yankees can expect a better starter than Mitre and Aceves. His tRA is 4.13. That’s better than every Yankees starter. Only Sabathia has been worth more runs over replacement as a starter. He’s a legit fifth option.

  2. Glen L says:

    Given the time of the year, I think this was exactly what the Yanks should have done.

    He gives Girardi a lot of options as a swing man, and given the construction of the bullpen at the moment and joba’s innings limit, this was precisely the right move … Cashman should get credit here

  3. zs190 says:

    I think all those advanced stats give him too much credit in this case. If you look at it, his K/9 and HR/FB are significantly better than career norms, as a result of pitching in the NL and Petco.

    Last season aside, he’s 26 with decent stuff but crappy command. He could be better than Mitre but I don’t think he’s a sure bet to be better.

    • James Varghese says:

      I haven’t dug into it but I don’t think that his pitching at Petco really helped him out. His BAA at Petco was 323/.408/.445/.853 and he pitched to the tune of a 6.30 ERA in 40 innings. Yes, the HRs were down a little compared to the road but that seems to be it.

  4. James says:

    It would be interesting to see if Joba just starts pitching 5 innings on purpose, then they put in Gaudin for 2 or 3 innings bang your in the 7th or 8th….close the door notch another win for Joba.

  5. jjyank says:

    I like it. He could be useful in either the rotation or the pen. If we run into trouble with starters again (Joba’s innings limit, injury, #5 is still a black hole, etc.) perhaps Gaudin could be used in the pen to free Aceves or Hughes to move into the starting rotation down the stretch run or the playoffs.

    I think the Yanks have made it clear that Hughes will stay in the pen for the time being (a decision I personally disagree with), but might be willing to plug Aceves back into the rotation at some point.

    Of course, if Gaudin gets a chance to take over Mitre’s spot and pitches well enough for a #5 (I’m thinking 4-5 ERA range) then that solves the problem too.

  6. Mike Axisa says:

    My evil plan: crush the Sox this weekend and open up a big lead. Put Joba on a 10 day schedule the rest of the year to save his innings for the playoffs. Start Mitre/Gaudin in his place.

    • jjyank says:

      Then who pitches in the #5 spot if Mitre/Gaudin are taking Joba’s every other start? I assume you mean to have one of them out of the #5 spot every 5 days and have the other take every other start of Joba’s. I’m not sure how comfortable I feel with having both of them in the rotation that often.

      I’m all for getting creative to limit Joba’s innings too. I want him to start in the playoffs as much as everyone else. I might come around to that if we can bury the Sox during this series and get a comfortable lead in the division.

    • That sounds alright in theory but I dont’ know how well that would work out for Joba.

  7. GG says:

    What happened with the cubs? why signed and then dropped?

  8. John Duci says:

    How do you spell Chad Gaudin? A-a-r-o-n S-m-a-l-l

  9. kevin says:

    Do you guys think that skipping days for Joba will not be crisp for his starts kind of like last night or was he just off.

    • jjyank says:

      I’m inclined to say he was just off, one very mediocre start after three great ones. He did just fine in those three games after the extra rest from the all-star break.

  10. gary busey's face says:

    this article says nothing about his fantastic k/9 rate this year, or his FIP, which is significantly lower than his ERA. WHY IS THAT

  11. JohnC says:

    Hope WDR is not the PTBNL in the Gaudin deal. Anyone have any idea who the Yanks will be sending?

    • jjyank says:

      I was just about to ask the same thing. I’m hoping for a lesser prospect as well. Maybe a Zach Kroenke type?

    • whozat says:

      If anyone had any info, they’d post it. Right now, your guess is as good as ours. It could even depend on how the guy does. I read that it was for a PTBNL or cash on some beat writer’s site, so it might even not be a player at all.

  12. jon says:

    gotta love the amish pistol

  13. Kulish says:

    Could it be Ivan Nova for the Padres again?

  14. CT Yankee says:

    Its posts like this that make RAB essential reading. However:

    Gaudin didn’t fare well in the confines of Wrigley, allowing homers at a far greater rate than most of his career.

    Made me throw up in my mouth

  15. A.D. says:

    He’s innings, hopefully he can eat them

  16. JeffG says:

    I imagine that he might shadow Mitre’s starts as not to destroy the bullpen. Seems like a good plan. I’m thinking he will take Clagett’s place for now but wonder who will be sent down once Gardner comes back… Melancon?

  17. max says:

    Shave that fucking squirrel off his face.

  18. Matt H. says:

    With the Yanks’ luck, he’ll be like 5-0 the rest of the way, like Chacon, and Aaron Small…

  19. E-ROC says:

    The left-handed hitters love him while righties don’t do so well against him. Maybe Gaudin can pick up a pitch while here to get lefties out more often. Good addition for the Yanks. So what’s the corresponding move to be?

  20. thebusiness says:

    If I have to hear another Aaron Small/Shawn Chacon reference….

    I like Gaudin over Mitre.

  21. gio says:

    Roster question: when Marte/Gardenr get back, what moves will be made? Melancon’s been pitching well, but I guess you gotta assume he’ll go down, but that leaves one move to be made…

  22. Andy says:

    I’d like to see them send down Mitre when Marte is ready, slotting Gaudin into the rotation. Then, when Gardy is ready, send down Coke – he is doing way worse than the perception, as he has the second worst ERA on the team next to Bruney, close to 5. Of couse, this assumes Gaudin slots in for Claggett. Either way, it is only a couple weeks because rosters expand in September.

  23. Andy says:

    51 appearances, and “one” outing killed his ERA? Please. Take one outing out of anyone’s ERA and it is significantly better. Can’t use the “one outing” thing with a guy who’s pitched in 51 games…

    • Andy says:

      Sure, Coke’s ERA would be around 3.68 without that outing – but take one outing from Phil Hughes, and his ERA drops from 3.60 to 2.57. More particularly, looking at the guys most likely to go down if not Coke, take one outing from Robertson, and his ERA drops from 3.52 (still lower than Coke’s adjusted ERA) to 2.78. Take one outing from Melancon, and his ERA drops from 3.18 (again better than Coke’s adjusted rate, albiet in a small sample size) to 2.45. Not a good argument for Coke. And that’s not even getting into K rates, where Robertson dominates and Melancon is way better than Coke. Bottom line is they have both outpitched Coke, and the only argument Coke has is experience, and his advantage there isn’t even all that great there either.

  24. [...] the Yanks it will be Chad Gaudin, making his first start in pinstripes. You can read a bit on Gaudin’s history here. He’s appeared for the Bombers twice out of the bullpen, once pitching well and once pitching [...]

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