When I was gathering links for tomorrow's Mug I stumbled across something I thought might be of interest: The Astros have designated Australian lefty Ryan Rowland-Smith for assignment.
Rowland-Smith is coming off a disastrous season in Seattle, where he posted a 6.75 ERA in 109.1 innings. Entering the 2010 season he had allowed 26 home runs in three years as a major leaguer. In 2010, he allowed 25.
Prior to last season, though, Rowland-Smith was a pretty effective pitcher. From 2007-09 he posted a 3.62 ERA over 88 outings (27 starts), with decent walk (3.2 per nine innings) and strikeout (6.1/9) rates. His FIPs from those seasons would suggest he overachieved a bit, but not dramatically so: his FIP had never been higher than 2008's 4.53. As I mentioned above, Rowland-Smith was the victim of 25 home runs in 109.1 innings in 2010, and a fair portion of that can likely be attributed to the fact that he allowed home runs on 14% of his fly balls. He had never allowed more than 8.3% of flies to leave the yard as a big leaguer.
Rowland-Smith had relatively short outings with the Astros this spring, never pitching more than three innings and posting a 6.23 ERA over six appearances. With that said, the Brewers could probably have him pitch a simulated game in Arizona this week and have him ready to go 5-6 innings on April 6 if they claimed him.
Being left-handed probably makes Rowland-Smith a relatively poor fit in the Brewer rotation, as he'd probably pitch behind Randy Wolf and Chris Narveson on some occasions. With that said, beggars can't be choosers.