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Bring Knuckles & Baek

I talked about the Padres rotation a few weeks ago and Sky did so just days ago. The Pads are one of these teams that you cannot help but keep your eyes on simply because of the startling amount of talent on the field and in the front office. Adrian Gonzalez and Brian Giles are two of the most underrated players in the game which leaves no surprise that three of the smarter executives in the game oversee them in the triumvirate of Sandy Alderson, Kevin Towers, and Paul DePodesta. My eyes widened when I read the transactions log and discovered they had acquired knuckleballer Charlie Haeger.

The 25 year old has bounced around Triple-A Charlotte and the south side of Chicago the past few seasons without finding a permanent home on the big league club. Beginning in 2006 Haeger had an impressive 3.95 FIP as a 22 year old throwing an old player's pitch. Haeger would also find his first 18 innings of major league action in 2006 and despite six-plus walks per nine innings had a 3.20 FIP and nine-plus strikeouts.

In 2007, Haeger would see his Charlotte FIP rise to 4.39, but lowered his walk tendencies and similarly increased his strikeout ratio. Haeger's second tour of duty in the majors consisted of about 11 innings; unfortunately, they were hardly of the nice variety. A 0.13 K/BB ratio and 2.38 taters per nine were uncharacteristic of Haeger who has given up 42 homeruns in over 820 minor league innings, or one every 20 innings.

Updating the possible Padres rotation next season, we have nearly 400 innings of 3.4 and 4 FIP ball from Jake Peavy and Chris Young and then a group in which Haeger joins that features Cha Seung Baek, Josh Banks, Josh Geer, Wade LeBlanc, Justin Germano, and Chad Reineke. It certainly will not be the prettiest of rotations for star seekers yet it should be cheap and if not effective at least interchangeable.

Whether or not this actually improves the Padres chances of fielding a competent rotation is to be determined. However assuming Baek (who has been extremely solid) sews up a spot along with Haeger and one of the younger arms (LeBlanc?) or a cheap veteran (Mark Prior, part two?) I think the Padres could have at least an average and cost efficient group of starters on their hands.