Chad Durbin

The decision to sign Durbin (sending Yohan Flande to the minors a day after he was told he had made the Show for the first time, like some sort of cruel joke) is basically inexplicable, but then all of Durbin’s (now thirteen season) career has been inexplicable. He has had one good season, and that came after he’d already had eight bad ones. He wasn’t ever a hot prospect, or a first round draft pick, or the sort of physical specimen to make scouts lose their minds, or anything that would call for extra chances despite repeated failure. He’s not even lefthanded. There’s really no reason he isn’t selling insurance now instead of picking up a major league paycheck. He’s made about $6.6 million playing Major League Baseball, and there’s no evidence he’s run out of chances.

Durbin didn’t even come out of a productive farm system. He was a Royal, a starting pitcher. He got into one game in 1999, then in 2000 went 2-5 with an 8.21 ERA in sixteen starts. The next year he started 29 times and went 9-16 with a 4.93 ERA. By WAR, this represents the second-best year of his career. He bounced around pitching-desperate teams for awhile — the Indians, the Diamondbacks, the Tigers, starting some and relieving some.

Somehow, Durbin hooked on with the Phillies in 2008, and in full-time relief pitched 87 2/3 IP with a 2.87 ERA. Some people are giving him a lot of credit for this, but to me it screams “fluke”, caused by (a) playing for an outstanding defensive team, and (b) giving up an unusually (for him) number of home runs, just .5 per 9. His career rate is 1.3, and in the three years since (in case you think he turned it around as a full-time reliever) it’s 1.2. His control’s not very good, though he has bumped up his strikeouts a little in the last few seasons. After a below-average 2008, he was decent in 2010, then signed a free agent contract with the Indians and collapsed last year. Certain people would say “tougher league”; I would say “much worse defense” and “turning 33”. He spent this spring with the Nats, who cut him yesterday. And for some reason, Frank Wren thought “I have to get some of that”.

Chad Durbin Statistics and History – Baseball-Reference.com.

69 thoughts on “Chad Durbin”

  1. I wonder for how long I will now picture Frank Wren thinking “I have to get some of that.”

    Awesome.

  2. Wren has, in the past few days, signed two retreads jettisoned by the Nationals and Astros. Why?

  3. What the heck?

    I could see Livan and Francisco, and even Flenderson (I’m gonna call Flande “Toby” because he’s been treated poorly here), but this makes no sense. This is Scott Linebrink all over again. The first time my fiancé heard me cuss was when Linebrink gave up the lead-off, walk-off homer in the 9th to the Reds last year (while Kimbrel sat), and she will hear me again this year!

    Damn you, Durbin! Damn you!

  4. Kudos to you, Rob, for lasting that long without cussing in front of your fiance as a Braves fan. I feel like while I’m watching the Braves, vulgarity is pretty much the norm. i.e. “Great, another @#%*!& bunt.”

  5. Thank you, Chief. Anything new?

    Perhaps you should try Googling “New York Mets blogs”.

  6. Great writeup, Mac. Very funny!!

    I will be in NYC over Easter but my girlfriend did not think it was a good idea to go watch the game on Saturday. Since the trip was an xmas present for her, what can I do?! Darn.

  7. Believe it or not, Timo, there’s a lot to do in NYC besides baseball.

    And the weather’s gonna be pretty nice this weekend.

  8. Today’s fun fact: Among players whose careers began in the last 30 years, and who have had a 500+ game major league career primarily as an outfielder, Ryan Langerhans has the third lowest career BA:

    1. Ruben Rivera, .216
    2. Rob Deer, .220
    3. Ryan Langerhans, .226

    But sometimes you have to sacrifice batting average in order to exploit a player’s secondary skills — which in Langerhans’ case amounted to a slightly higher than average walk rate and decent range for a left fielder….

  9. 1. Garrett Anderson was not batting cleanup in that lineup. He was batting third. Brian McCann was batting cleanup.

    2. The Braves went 86-76 in 2009. I find it unlikely that this year’s model is 10 games worse than those Braves.

    EDIT: I have no idea why they signed Chad Durbin.

  10. Christian Marrero, whom the Braves just acquired, got this mark from Baseball America’s page on the White Sox.

    Best Strike Zone Discipline Christian Marrero

    OMG What is this, Moneyball????

  11. Has there ever been a year where the Braves have started out the season without at least one “veteran presence” pitcher who is absolutely horrendous? This year Durbin and Hernandez both have great potential for that. My money is on Durbin to really stink it up. On the other hand, I believe Hernandez will be merely pathetic, but won’t reach the horrendous status.

  12. I would note that Yohan Flande is an anagram of “half annoyed,” which is how I feel.

  13. @21. Marrero looks like a decent player, but without the power for his positions (LF, RF & 1B). He reminds me a lot of Barbaro Canizares, but hopefully he has a little better glove. Where did you see news of this signing? I haven’t seen anything.

  14. ububba, yeah, you’re right I know… but how good would that have been for me!
    Nevertheless, we will have a blast.

  15. “The wife of Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Dave Shotkoski is reliving the anger and pain of her husband’s murder with news that the killer was released from prison in Florida on Tuesday, after serving just 15 years of his 27-year sentence.”

  16. “just 15 years” is a long ass time in the big house. Don;t know whether the facts warrant the man’s release or not, but that’s far from a slap on the wrist. Better stop here though.

  17. @25, I’m really impressed that you found that. I’m terrible at anagrams.

    @28, If you’re looking for a relatively cheap but fun show to see while you’re in town, you can usually get discount tickets to “Rock of Ages” at the TKTS booth in Time Square. They start selling that night’s tickets at around 3:00 if I’m not mistaken. Totally campy but it’s fun to hear the 80s power ballads performed live.

  18. Timo,

    Highly recommend The Stanton Social for dinner in NYC if you get a chance. Shake Shack burgers aren’t bad either.

  19. Thanks for the recommendations, guys. THe Rock of AGes Show sounds perfect, I will try to see that one. Stanton Social is not too far from my hotel, looks terrific, I’ll check it out. Thanks again!!

  20. OK Dusty, just booked Stanton Social for Friday night. Appreciate the recommendation.

  21. Mine and my wife’s favorite dining experience in the last 5 years, hope you enjoy.

  22. Timo,
    Dunno if you’re into late-night action, especially late-night “happy hours,” but here’s one for you, not far from Times Square.

    Mr. Biggs at the corner of 43rd St & 10th Avenue does 2 “happy hours” per day: 5-7 pm, then again 2-4 am. And they have an outdoor cafe.

    BTW, the place used to be a bar run by “The Westies” (Irish mobsters), now they do karaoke. But I recommend the cafe, if the weather stays nice.

  23. ububba, midnight action is my middle name. ahem, well… anyway, we’ll go out for sure, Mr. Biggs, will try to hit the second happy hour.

  24. I’m going to spend some time in Philadelphia in a few months with my family. Any suggestion on round trip transportation for 6 from Philly to NY City for one day. It looks like a bus would be about $100 and Amtrak would be about $300 but would get us there in just more than 1/2 the time. Any way to get discounts or other recommended forms of travel? Thanks!

  25. Really nice Fangraphs article on the game last night. J.R. Graham + Navery Moore = me feeling good about bullpen dominance for the foreseeable future. Brandon Drury is also someone I’m starting to get excited about.

  26. td,
    If price is the biggest issue, rent a car. Hit the Lincoln or Holland Tunnel after 10 am, then return out of NYC after 7 pm.

    But if you don’t want to deal with the parking or the drive, you could take New Jersey Transit thru Trenton.

    It’s been quite awhile since I did that, but IIRC, you can take the SEPTA train out of Philly & transfer to the NJ Transit train in Trenton. You take NJ Transit into Penn Station on 34th Street in Manhattan. Dunno about schedules, but NJ Transit runs a million trains in & out of NYC every day.

  27. ububba’s R7 to Trenton, NJ Transit to Penn Station method is broke college kid approved. It’s weird how just describing the route brings back memories.

  28. Out of curiosity, I checked out prices, and I couldn’t find Amtrak round trip for less that $100/person ($600 total), $50 each way. SEPTA/NJ Transit will cost $50/person ($300 total), $25 each way.

    Kicking the crap out of all of them is http://www.peterpanbus.com/new-low-fares-philly-nyc/ . That’s a $12 round trip if bought a week in advance ($72 total). I think that’s cheaper than a car, considering gas and parking.

  29. 41—Still stunned Navery took 14th-round money, but it’s most definitely to the Braves’ advantage.

  30. Nice to see Jose Feliciano sing the national anthem, again. A good reminder of how far we have come. Sometimes it’s easy to forget.

  31. Well, I’ll just say it was a bit obtuse of someone to include Ali in this ceremony whilst in this sad physical condition.

  32. Hanley should have gotten that one. The countdown clock on the Marlin implosion has started.

  33. @45 – You’re talking about how much it costs to go to Philadelphia. They’re talking about how much it costs to leave Philadelphia.

  34. I am giddy at the start of a new season, regardless of my trepidations. Baseball is back.

  35. I think because I lost my Thrashers this year it has made me really miss baseball. In previous years Thrashers hockey filled the void for me but this year I am seriously jonesing for some Braves baseball. Is it 1:00 yet?

  36. I’m so stoked for baseball today! I’m also going to cross my fingers and try to get MLB.tv working, and hopefully the blackout issues aren’t going to be a problem.

  37. There’s a book out there called “Hope is Not a Strategy”.

    Wren should read it.

    Whaddayasay we sweep the Mets and Astros?

  38. According to ESPN, the Mets have the best Opening Day winning percentage of any franchise at .640. The Braves rank 19th with .492.

    Let’s shake things up today. Go Braves!

  39. Thanks for the input on travel from Philly to NYC. @47 – kids under 15 are 1/2 price on Amtrak (we have 4) and tickets a few months out are much cheaper than immediate. Round trip is $72 each for adults and $36 each for kids. Looks like Amtrak is a pretty good option given it’s twice as fast as bus.

  40. I think most of the Durbin haters are thanking God he has been one of the better relief pitcher for the Braves the 2012 season.

    I do realize most of the comments come from life long Braves fans who miss the team of the 80’s.

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