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Are Vinnie Chulk, Brian Tallet, and Pete Walker Worth Keeping Around?

Yesterday, I looked at Vinnie Chulk's contribution to the team. Although he's not an effective relief pitcher overall, he's proven to be extremely productive against right-handed pitchers. If he were used correctly, he'd be a valuable (albeit slightly) asset to the team. But what about this offseason's acquisition from the Indians, Brian Tallet?

During the offseason, Tallet was acquired from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for minor league pitcher Bubbie Buzachero. He made the Blue Jays' opening day roster as a result of his productive spring and A.J. Burnett's stint on the disabled. However, despite the fact that he didn't allow a run in 11.1 innings, some of his peripheral stats were not good indicators of future success.

Spring training 2006:

PLAYER        ERA   G GS    IP   H   R  ER  HR  BB  SO  HB  WP
Brian Tallet  0.00  8  0   11.1  6   0   0   0   4   6   1   2

Excellent numbers, to be sure. However, in that small sample, the existence of control problems is evident. In fact, in each of his last three full seasons, he threw at least six wild pitches. None of the non-Chulk-Tallet-Walker relievers on the Blue Jays have more than seven wild pitches in their last three seasons combined. That's a significant different. Of course, not much can be gleaned from 11.1 innings, especially ones thrown during spring training. However, the point was to demonstrate that even when Tallet is at his best, warning signs exist that suggest it won't last for long.

A look at a larger sample, Tallet's career track record, indicates that he's not all that effective. Moreover, taking into account that he's already 28 years old means that he's not bound to improve all that much, if at all.

Let's take a look at his stats from the past three seasons:

Year     Tm        Lg     IP      H     BB     SO     HR     BABIP    WHIP     ERA     FIP     ERA adj. for FIP
2003     Buffalo   AAA    84     89     34     67     10     .299     1.46     5.14    1.64*    4.84*
2003     Cleveland MLB    19     23      8      9      2     .323     1.63     4.74    2.63     5.83    
2004     Akron      AA    22.2   26     13     23      0     .382     1.72     5.55    0.70*    3.90*
2005     Buffalo   AAA    97.2   98     25     61     17     .271     1.26     4.05    1.87     5.07

* Does not take HB into account (I couldn't find the stats), which likely makes those those totals too low (especially 2004).

Even in the minors, Tallet projects to post around a 5.00 ERA with a WHIP around 1.50. In 2005, he was fortunate to post those totals, as underwhelming as they are. It must also be noted that his competition in the minors was noticeably younger, less experienced, and less talented than what he will encounter as a member of the Blue Jays.

It would be in the team's best interest, in my opinion, to give Tallet's roster spot to a current minor league pitcher who has more upside and who stands to probably better Tallet's totals now anyway. The team's system is full of pitchers who are ready (or very close to it) for major league competition. I speak of the likes of Dustin McGowan and Shaun Marcum. Also, not too long from now, Josh Banks, Casey Janssen, and David Purcey, among others, would be prime candidates to work out of the bullpen prior to joining the rotation full time. In my view, it makes much more sense to have the future in mind rather than mimicking the Kansas City Royals' strategy of handing over the brunt of the playing time to aging, low-ceiling mediocrities in favour of younger players who possess significantly more talent and potential.