2013 in brief: Surprisingly not awful in an even more surprising stint as a member of the Dodgers.
2014 status: Signed a one-year deal with Pittsburgh.
I didn’t remember until now that I had titled the post about Edinson Volquez‘ arrival in Los Angeles simply “Report: Sigh.” I suppose that made sense because there had been almost no speculation about the Dodgers looking at him, the news appeared out of nowhere, and they didn’t seem to need him. Also appearing out of nowhere: the endless home runs he gave up as a Padre that threatened to destroy paying fans in the bleachers:
The Padres arguably have the worst starting rotation in baseball — so bad, that when Jason Marquis got hurt, it actually qualified as a problem — and even they said “you know what? Why don’t you just hit the road,” because when you get bounced after just 0.2 inning like he did against the Cubs five days ago, that’s not great.
That’s how bad he’s been, and that’s what happens when you’re mixing your usual control problems with a decreased ability to miss bats. Volquez’ swinging-strike percentage is down to 8.6%, the worst it’s been for him since back in 2007 with Texas. His velocity is down below 93 for the first time in his career, and he’s only really had one season in his career (2008) where he’s been both healthy and good, and WHY AM I ANALYZING EDINSON VOLQUEZ LIKE HE’S ANYTHING BUT AWFUL.
After a quick one-inning tuneup out of the bullpen, the Dodgers put him into the rotation… in Coors Field. I never thought much of Volquez, but that’s not exactly putting him in a position to succeed, is it? I attempted to look on the bright side about reported changes in his mound positioning, but our expectations were so low that when he managed to make it through four innings with only a single homer, it counted as a success. I think.
Edinson Volquez wasn’t good, but… well, I guess I’m not quite sure how to end that sentence. It could have been worse, I guess? Volquez got to 0-2 on three of his first four hitters, but still allowed six hits (including a Todd Helton homer) and runs in each of his first three innings. He also retired the last six he faced and didn’t walk anyone before being lifted after 75 pitches and four innings, so I suppose he can take something positive away from this — even if the rest of us can’t.
Volquez made four more starts as a Dodger, and it’s surprising to me now to look and them and realize he wasn’t completely awful. Do you have any recollection of him striking out seven Giants without a single walk on Sept. 15? I can’t say I do. Overall, a 26/8 K/BB in 27 innings as a starter is pretty good, even if allowing five homers isn’t. Volquez somewhat surprisingly made the NLCS roster — he did not appear — and then even more surprisingly, collected $5m from the Pirates for 2014. If the Dodger coaching staff really did find something to fix over the last month, then the Pirates have themselves a steal. Otherwise, they might as well have just lit that cash on fire.
Next! To the bullpen with Chris Withrow!