Why Marco Estrada? Why did you break my heart??? YOU'RE TEARING ME APART!
Ahem...it may come as a surprise to some of you but I really had high hopes for Marco Estrada going into the 2014. I thought the Brewers had a strong No. 3 starter filling out the number 5 spot in their rotation. With good reason. He had actually been a pretty righteous dude for the Brewers from 2011-2013 accumulating nearly 6 fWAR in 359 IP.
In that time frame he was 9th in K%-BB% sandwiched between Justin Verlander and Cole Hamels. The only thing, and I do mean only thing, that held him back was his home runs allowed. It turns out that's a pretty significant Achilles heel to have. So perhaps it's unsurprising that's exactly what buried him in 2014.
Among all pitchers with a minimum of 150 IP, Marco Estrada was far and away the leader in home runs allowed with a 1.73 HR/9. That number is even brought down by the time he spent in the bullpen. In his 18 starts he owned a staggering 2.27 HR/9. It's almost surprising his ERA as a starter was only 4.96.
After 18 mostly disastrous starts Estrada was moved to the bullpen where he found new life and I found renewed hope for him. As a reliever Estrada saw his ERA drop to 2.89. His BAA was a paltry .216, his WHIP a sparkling 1.03, and his 14.8 K%-BB% was above average. His 2.81 FIP seemed to suggest the change was real while his 3.56 SIERA suggested he was a bit lucky. His performance bolstered by a likely unsustainable 0.41 HR/9, his 4.03 xFIP believed he was more than a little lucky.
Still, the results were encouraging and the Blue Jays seemed to agree. The World Series was barely over before it was announced the Brewers had traded Marco Estrada to the Blue Jays for Adam Lind. Marco Estrada was with the Brewers since 2010 and for most of that time he provided more value than anyone could have hoped for. Even in departing he provided extra value to them. What a swell guy.
Marco Estrada didn't have a lot of 'great' games to choose from, but perhaps his best game was against the Pirates on May 13th. Yes, he did give up a home run you smart arses. But, it was the only run he allowed and he struck out 8 of the 24 Pirates he faced. The Brewers won that game 5-2. Ah the good times...
The Blue Jays have team control over Marco Estrada for one year. It will be his final year of arbitration in which MLB Trade Rumors projected he'll get $4.7 million. It's entirely possible the Blue Jays simply wanted to dump Adam Lind's salary without having to pay the buyout. As such, it's also entirely possible (though unlikely) they non-tender Estrada making him a free agent. So buck up kiddos! There's still a chance Marco Estrada could be anchoring the Brewers bullpen as a low leverage long relief swing man!!!
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs