Dodgers trade target’s extreme regression should scare LA

Adam Weinrib
DENVER, CO - JULY 12: Kyle Gibson #44 of the Texas Rangers talks to reporters during the Gatorade All-Star Workout Day outside of Coors Field on July 12, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 12: Kyle Gibson #44 of the Texas Rangers talks to reporters during the Gatorade All-Star Workout Day outside of Coors Field on July 12, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /
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Congratulations to Texas Rangers starter Kyle Gibson, who parlayed years of steadiness into an All-Star appearance this season and should net a large-ish trade package for his team.

Based on recent events, though, that package should not come from the Dodgers, and the Rangers might be motivated to further restrict Gibson’s innings prior to the July 30 deadline, lest this get even worse.

We’ve long speculated about Gibson as a potential innings-eating fit for the Dodgers, especially considering three-fifths of their Opening Day rotation has now disappeared, with Clayton Kershaw’s absence the only one with a theoretical end date at the moment.

If Andrew Friedman can pry Gibson free at a low-stakes rate, then fantastic. He should do so, without very high expectations.

If the cost is prohibitive, though, Gibson should no longer be the answer — without someone like Ian Kennedy or Joey Gallo also attached.

On Monday against the Tigers, things finally ballooned for Gibson in the way that his statistics have indicated they probably would. We’ll hope against hope, but this is likely the beginning of a trend rather than a one-off obstacle.

https://twitter.com/mike_petriello/status/1417452183386218498?s=20

Dodgers fans should be very wary of a Kyle Gibson trade.

Even after Monday night’s slopfest, Gibson still sports a 2.86 ERA, though he’s only struck out 90 men through 117 innings pitched, a solid indicator he relies on inducing contact, which remains a slippery slope for any playoff rotation.

If you’re starting Gibson in a win-or-go-home scenario, your defense must be as tight as it possibly can be.

Perhaps — and this is unlikely, but technically possible — Gibson is just fine, but simply cannot handle the Detroit Tigers? The very-small-sample-size trends do bear it out.

The numbers indicate, though, that while he may not become unpitchable, his counting stats are probably going to see a large enough increase that it’ll be notable. His FIP, at the moment, sits at 3.62, nearly 0.8 runs above his actual ERA (and, again, that ERA was far lower before Monday’s action). His expected ERA is 3.58. These aren’t awful numbers on the whole, but in order to reach them, Gibson will have to do more bad pitching than good in the season’s crucial second half. The Dodgers, or whoever gets him, will be paying for past performance as his present approaches a pain point.

Gibson has been remarkably consistent in 2021 up until this point, inducing repeated soft contact and sporting an exceptional barrel percentage of 3.9, ranking in the top 8% of all MLB starters.

The Dodgers need an innings-eater. In fact, they need anyone who can throw more than four innings at a time towards the back end of the rotation. If the price for Gibson is right, then so be it.

But the regression starting 10 days ahead of the deadline instead of 10 days after it might’ve saved the Dodgers an overpay.

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