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Case against Schmidt? What case?

The White Sox, along with several others, have shown interest in San Francisco's Jason Schmidt. Rumor that the Sox were close to landing Schmidt sparked this monster over at White Sox Interactive, and there has been some resistance to acquiring Schmidt, most of which I don't get.

Certainly, I understand the fear of giving up good prospects for a guy who has struggled, but calling Schmidt an addition to the end of the rotation or comparing him to Jose Contreras (both of which are done by posters on that WSI thread) is utterly ludicrous. Put Schmidt on the White Sox's staff, and he's at worst the second best starter in the rotation. And there's no debating his stuff.


Jason SchmidtYearERA+BABIPK/9ERADIPS2002110.2709.53.453.332003183.2509.02.342.812004139.25710.03.203.03200585.3338.75.114.12

ERA+ = lgERA / ERA (you can find this on Schmidt's player page linked above)
BABIP = batting avg on balls in play (typically around .300 or thereabouts)
DIPS = ERA independent of the defense behind a pitcher

There are several reasons to think Schmidt will have a better second half no matter what team he's playing for. His BABIP for 2005 immediately caught my eye, and while there are no guarantees in this department, that .333 average does mean that Schmidt has been unlucky. There is a large difference between his ERA and his DIPS ERA, pointing again to some unluckiness.

His K/9 in 2005--still a very solid 8.7--doesn't throw up any red flags for me. Detractors worry about his health, but if his velocity is down, he's still striking plenty of guys out. More bothersome is his walk rate this year (over 4.5 BB/9 IP).

Here's another point: San Francisco ranks 22nd in the majors with a defensive efficiency ratio (DER) of .686. So the defense behind Schmidt hasn't been very good (*cough* note DIPS again *cough*). Furthermore, the SF defense has been even worse when Schmidt pitches. As you can see here, the Giants have had a DER of .675 in Jason Schmidt starts. And if that were their team average, they'd be 27th (out of 30) in the majors in DER.

If Schmidt moved to Chicago, he'd be coming to the team with the best DER in the major leagues (though moving to a hitter's park in the process).

Also important to consider is track record. Schmidt has been excellent over the last three years, and his to-date 2005 performance looks terribly out of character. So he's either got a legitimate health issue...or (more likely, in my opinion) he's in for a big second half.

Bottom line: if the price is right, the White Sox should and will acquire Jason Schmidt.