Monday, June 21, 2010

Laffey deserves shot at rotation

Indians pitcher David Huff was optioned to Triple-A Columbus today, opening the door for one of the Clippers' top starting pitchers to make the jump to the bigs.

Reasonable judgment suggests the top candidates for the promotion are Aaron Laffey (0-1, 3.98 ERA) and Carlos Carrasco (5-3, 4.26 ERA).

Yohan Pino (6-3, 4.36 ERA) and Josh Tomlin (6-2, 2.81 ERA) are also pitching well for Columbus but are not on the 40-man roster, which means Cleveland would have to shuffle that roster as well to promote either of them.

Between Laffey and Carrasco, the edge likely goes to Laffey, who opened the season in the Cleveland bullpen, but was sent to the minors on May 30.

He was 0-1 with a 5.61 ERA in 20 relief appearances and was sent to Columbus to become a starter in case Cleveland needed him later in the season.

The club likely didn't expect to need him back on the roster so soon, but Huff (2-9, 6.04 ERA) has struggled mightily this season.

Lack of run support and several errors by the defense have contributed to his win/loss record, but he allowed 88 hits and 47 earned runs in 70 innings across 13 starts.

The sophomore slump didn't effect Huff at the beginning of the season, when he was 1-2 with a complete game and just a 3.00 ERA after three starts. Last season, Huff led the team with 11 wins as a rookie.

Allowing hits has been an unfortunate staple of Huff's game though, as he allowed 159 hits in 128.1 innings across 23 starts last season.

Laffey is 16-19 in four seasons. He has made 44 career starts.

The team owes him an opportunity to earn a spot in the rotation, much like they did with Huff after spring training. Laffey was a part of that battle for the fifth starting job, and now that Huff has shown he isn't ready, Laffey deserves a chance to prove he belongs.

It has been the season of minor league call-ups and opportunities for youngsters at Progressive Field this year, but in this instance, there should be an exception. Carrasco, part of the Cliff Lee trade, eventually will be a part of Cleveland's rotation, and while promoting him now would correspond with most of the other call-ups (Carlos Santana, Hector Ambriz, Frank Hermann, Jason Donald) Cleveland has made this season, it is not the right thing to do.

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