Braden Looper's numbers aren't eye-catching, but the free agent righty remains useful. The 35-year-old made at least 30 starts for the third consecutive season last year, logging 194.2 innings. He pitched to a 5.22 ERA with 4.6 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9. Those numbers suggest that Looper isn't going to dominate, but could help teams win.
The Diamondbacks, for example, could use rotation depth. For now, they're monitoring the trade market and don't appear interested in free agent starters like Looper or Jarrod Washburn, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.
The D'Backs have relied on just four starters so far this year, but Kris Benson will join the rotation and start for them tomorrow. Recent history suggests Looper could outperform Benson, but the D'Backs have Kevin Mulvey and Billy Buckner to call on, too.
The Dodgers were interested in Looper on a minor league deal back in March, but they haven't been connected to him since. Knuckleballer Charlie Haeger struck out 12 Marlins in his only start this year, so the Dodgers have an intriguing fifth starter for now.
A glance around the majors shows that a number of other clubs could use starting pitching depth. Mitch Talbot and Jake Westbrook are having early control problems for the Indians; Doug Fister, Jason Vargas and Ian Snell are far from sure things in Seattle; the Nationals have a team ERA above 7.00 and are getting less than five innings per start from their rotation; with Chris Young out, the Padres could look to Looper instead of Tim Stauffer or Wade LeBlanc; the Mets could look to add pitching, too.
There are openings around the league now and more will surely emerge as the season develops, so it would be a surprise if Looper were unable to find work given his history of durability.
Dodgers should pass. They could have kept Garland if they wanted those kind of numbers.
2.72 ERA for LAD last year (in his limited time)
He might be more suited for the NL… and even he just ends up being the same… I consider him a little better anyway
think his ERA will be about 3.85 at the end of this year…
The Mariners should pick this guy up. I think he would fit well as a back end starter in the setting of Safeco field.
No pitcher with a 5.22 ERA will ever “help their team win”. His team may help him win with run support. That’s why wins and losses are such a ridiculous way to judge the value of a pitcher.
I know it has been a few years now, but Looper used to be a relief pitcher and a pretty decent one as I remember it. I wonder if any clubs are giving thought to moving him back into such a role.
I probably wouldn’t trust him in the 9th and likely not even the 8th, but as a 7th inning guy he might still be serviceable if he can get those home runs a little more under control. If nothing else, it would greatly expand his list of potential employers.
Ya nice job saying Talbot is having “control problems” after just one start. Eat your crow of a complete game with no walks last night against the ChiSox.