Apr 25, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; (Editors note: Caption correction) Cleveland Indians starting pitcher T.J. House (58) pitches in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
The Tribe Should Choose T.J. House Instead
Andrew Schmid: While I would love to jump on the Josh Tomlin bandwagon, I find myself in the other situation and hope that the team looks for other options. While Tomlin’s recent success has been great, it is highly unsustainable. ERA estimators FIP and xFIP suggest that an ERA in the range of of 3.5-4.5 would be more reflective of his talent than his current 2.85 ERA. While this may not sound too bad, I believe that these numbers are overly optimistic. His 24.8% strikeout rate is doomed to plummet, as his 80.6% contact rate suggets a 19.3% strikeout rate. Certainly, the Tribe do not need a great pitcher in the fifth spot, and even a guy who can eat 200 innings while pitching to the tune of a 4.25 ERA has his value.
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A better alternative to Tomlin, in my opinion, would be T.J. House. I still believe in him, and I expect that he will return strong from his injury. The benefits of having a younger, left-handed pitcher are numerous, and House is more likely to remain with the Tribe beyond 2016. House’s 2014 strikeout rate was more or less stable, and his command should get better. Combining these two factors make him a so called “bounce back” candidate and my preferred option for the fifth starting spot.
A final candidate for the spot, whom I do not support as much as T.J. House, is Tim Lincecum. Lincecum, 31, could probably be signed to a minor league deal. His value excedes the potential of returning to something near his Cy Young Award winning form, as he is one of Trevor Bauer‘s role models. Not only could Mickey Callaway work with him to revitatilze his career in Scott Kazmir fasion, but Lincecum might help Bauer find something that he has so far missed. Certainly, this is a bit of a stretch, but it is a possibility none the less.