As I mentioned yesterday, Hong-Chih Kuo has been sent down to the minors in exchange for D.J. Houlton. Now, this seemed pretty bad. Kuo had only two bad starts out of six, marking the quickest demotion from the rotation of the Colittle regime. Odalis Perez? Three bad starts out of six. Brett Tomko? Four out of eight. Mark Hendrickson? Five in a row (the second time). Kicking someone with the upside that Kuo has for putting together two bad starts seems to be a move that lacks any foresight.
Admittedly, Kuo hasn't been quite right all season. According to Gameday data, Kuo's fastball has sat in the high 80s since his first start at San Diego. I'm thinking that he's never quite healed from his shoulder injury in Spring Training, and because of that, he hasn't been the same dominant pitcher that he was last year. If the organization recognizes that this is the problem, sending him to AAA isn't going to fix anything. Kuo needs time on the disabled list if he wants to get his fastball back to the low to mid 90s where it sat before.
Now, I thought this move was bad enough yesterday when I thought D.J. Houlton was taking over Kuo's spot. Houlton could be a solid fifth starter on a team that lacks pitching, but has no place in the rotation on a team as talent rich as the Dodgers. No, Houlton isn't going to get a chance to show what he can do. Mark Hendrickson is once again going to get run out there, and once again, we're going to find out that he can't pitch. Hendrickson has now made 23 starts for the Dodgers, and in 14 of those starts he's given up at least four runs. In those 23 starts, Hendrickson has a 5.06 ERA, struck out only 5.41 per nine, walked 3.24 per nine and has watched the ball fly out of the park 1.16 times every nine innings. Why does this guy, who probably wouldn't have ever made it to the bigs for any substantial period of time if he wasn't in the Devil Rays organization, get every chance in the world, while Kuo's filthy stuff gets all of two bad starts? It's just backwards. You have to give guys with electric stuff every chance in the world because of the potential reward. It's the guys who have no stuff to begin with that should be discarded at the first opportunity. Yet here we are, Mark Hendrickson gets his third chance at the Dodger rotation. Is there anyone in the world that thinks this guy is any good, aside from Ned Colletti?
When you combine my hatred of using small sample size to make a decision, supporting players just because they're veterans, and my general dislike of Mark Hendrickson, you have a move that I can't believe the Dodgers made. If the front office honestly believes that Mark Hendrickson is going to give the Dodgers a better shot at the pennant than Hong-Chih Kuo, I'll probably just continue to make more posts like this one.