I Nominate Stephen Fife For Fifth Starter
By Scott Andes
I am hereby nominating right hander Stephen Fife for the number five spot in the Dodger starting rotation. The Dodgers may have just inked left hander Paul Maholm to a 1.5 million dollar major league deal, but there is much uncertainty about the last spot in the rotation, and there is only one man who can straighten this all out. That man is the goggle wearing Stephen Fife.
I will be giving my support, and throwing my writer/blogger weight around in support of Fife. Even though my voice and vote carry no weight at all, it doesn’t mean I can’t jabber your ear off about it. You know you love this time of year.
Fife is the best candidate for the job. Judging from how he performed last season, he may be prime ready to realize his talent. The guy deserves a shot. If he is healthy, I hope he can rise to the occasion and grab the bull by the horns. Metaphorically speaking of course.
Fife is the man with the plan-Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The 27-year old right hander pitched to a 3.86 ERA in 2013, with xFIP showing him at 3.89. He whiffed 45, and walked only 20, lowering his BB/9 rate to 3.1. He allowed just seven home runs in 58.1 frames, and during his best stretch in June, he was 3-2 with a 2.21 ERA in six starts. At times he pitched like a ten-year veteran.
He’s refining his pitching style. Now he can strike guys out with more confidence. Missing more bats us key, and Fife has been doing that. He posted a 7.4 whiff per nine rate in the month of June last year. Fife is a fastball cruve, and changeup guy, but he’s developing his control. He rarely allows home runs, and is adept at getting ground balls.
Fife is so close to reaching his full potential. After watching him pitch, I can tell he has real talent, and a fiery competitive attitude on the mound. He fights. And not like in the crappy unintelligent way that the overpriced Ricky Nolasco did, I’m talking about a sharp bite. Fife is a thinking man’s pitcher. He can get out of jams. We’ve seen him work his magic before, and he’s only getting better. Given the chance, I think Fife could end up being really good.
Maholm is underwhelming, Beckett is probably cooked, and Matt Magill, and Zach Lee are not ready. The guy that could end up riding to the rescue again could be our man Fife. I like my fifth starters goggled and fierce. My money is on Fife.
Be honest with yourself. Look inside your head and you will realize that Fife is the best option here. He’s better than Maholm, and has more upside right now then the used up Josh Beckett. Matt Magill? No thanks.
I want the Fife, you want the Fife, we all want the Fife. He’s learning something new each day he pitches, and he seems to be making the required adjustments that all big league pitchers have to do along the way. It’s not his fault the Dodgers tried to force him to be something he is not, which is a reliever. He’s not a reliever, he’s a starting pitcher, and he’s turning into a good one. And it’s not his fault he’s battled shoulder bursitis.
I think given the opportunity, and if healthy Fife would be able to stabilize the number five spot. The right hander has never been flashy. That’s not his game, but he’s always been dependable. My vote is for Stephen Fife to be the Dodger’s number five starter in 2014. Vote Fife! Who’s with me?