Well, at least now we know who the “Paul Maholm replacement” is. In news that probably is best suited for late Saturday/early Sunday, the Dodgers announced that they have traded for the Twins’ right-handed pitcher Kevin Correia, in exchange for a player to be named later or cash.
In one way, Correia perfectly and hilariously fills the mold of the Paul Maholm replacement: he doesn’t strike anybody out, ever. In the last four years, these are Correia’s K/9 values: 4.50, 4.68, 4.90, 4.24. Over that time span, he has the lowest strikeout rate of any pitcher with at least 500 innings by far. Among pitchers with at least 70 innings this season, Correia has the lowest swinging strike rate, 5.3%. Maholm was 5th at 5.7%. I guess Colletti was speaking literally.
Correia has posted an ERA of 4.94 this season, about 27% worse than league average after adjusting for the AL and Target Field. He’s still managed to be worth almost a win above replacement level, mostly since his HR/FB rate is 7.0% (a bit lower than the league average). Scarily, Correia is allowing a nearly career high rate of fly balls, and combined with the fluke-ish nature of HR/FB ratio, this could be a huge red flag. Correia’s xFIP and SIERA are around 5, matching his mediocre ERA.
It is unclear at this time if “Paul Maholm role” means swing-man or not. Correia does have bullpen experience, but he hasn’t pitched more than 10 games in a season in relief since he was on the Giants in 2007. He pitched three games in relief for the 2012 Pirates, but hasn’t pitched out of the bullpen since. Maybe this is a way to limit Dan Haren‘s innings (six man rotation) or maybe the Dodgers do plan to use him out of the bullpen (replacing Carlos Frias) for now. Either way, his fit on the team isn’t immediately apparent.
Correia isn’t very good, but neither were the other available options, as both Mike and I looked at last week. If this acquisition occured before the Roberto Hernandez trade, it would have made more sense. This move, moreso than the last pitching depth move, seems like an unnecessary grab of a veteran. Unless Haren is injured, Correia provides little utility over what the Dodgers have, even if Josh Beckett is indeed out for the year. Even so, the drawback isn’t clear either, so the immediate response is probably just “meh.” Hopefully he doesn’t screw things up too badly.