According to wire reports, Bob Howry is going to be paid $2.75 million to throw a baseball in 2009. Cubs fans everywhere are just happy it will be in a different uniform, as the San Francisco Giants are the ones who decided to waste money on the 35 year-old who hasn't made an adjustment in two years.
Howry was brutal this season for the Cubs, compiling a 5.35 ERA and losing his late-innings role to an unpolished rookie, Jeff Samardzija. He didn't walk many, so his awful numbers were a byproduct of his inability to be effective within the strike zone. He allowed a whopping 90 hits and 13 home runs in 70 1/3 innings of work. No matter how you slice the numbers, he was just unusable in 2008.
The Giants believe they uncovered the reason for Howry's problems. He was overused by Lou Pinella and the Cubs' staff. Not necessary his in-game work, but the number of times he was warmed up in the bullpen and not brought into the game. I would be a lot more willing to buy that opinion if he showed signs of fatigue.
Instead, he was just too predictable. Let me give you a scouting report -- and this is coming from someone who watched every inning of his work.
Fastball in the black (outside corner).
That's it. That's what he does. He might mix in something else, but that's basically all he ever tries to do to get guys out. If you could throw 105, or put some serious moves on the ball, it might work. He throws a straight-as-an-arrow low-to-mid-90s heater. On the outside black. That comprises at least 75 percent of his pitches.
Low and behold, the entire league had him figured out last year. I know I was shocked.
I did love this quote, from the same man in the Giants front office who thinks Pinella overused Howry:
"His numbers weren't where they were before, but the stuff was still good. The velocity was still there,"
That's weird. If his velocity was there, as was his control, upon what are you basing this "overuse" opinion? You know why. To justify a colossal waste of money.
Nice move, Giants, at least you gave us Cubs fans a laugh.