You are citing stats to make your "pitching" point but then denying that they would carry the equivalent weight from the opposite (batter's) perspective.
<Isaac Newton rolling in his grave>
(as has been noted) K's have extra "situational" value over and above other outs particularly in late and close games. There is no substitute for a lights out closer who can get a STRIKEOUT when it is needed.
I agree with your point about K's as a "signpost" or "indicator" attribute. An ability to get some strikeouts indicates a pitcher has an "out" pitch of some sort which can be unhittable. This serves a pitcher well on an at bat basis AND over the long haul. Also, most strikeout pitchers (with some exceptions) have heat. No substitute for a little velocity when control/breaking pitches are failing. At one point in time velocity was all scouts cared about when hunting for pitchers. They figured they could teach the control/breaking stuff later.
The flip side (for batters) also holds true. Situationally, except for a double play, there are many cases when a strikeout is the worst possible outcome for an at bat. Additionally, strikeouts are also an "indicator" attribute for hitters. Generally speaking, fundamentally good hitters (the ones most likely to be most consistent game in and game out in multiple situations over a career) will not lead their teams/leagues in strikeouts.
Originally Posted by M2
An out's not a good thing for a hitter regardless of the nature of the out. You're getting tied up in micro stuff.
This is all macro. The way you figure out how well a hitter does in terms of out avoidance is OB. A .400 OB doesn't care if your .600 out percentage is tilted toward Ks or groundouts or flyballs or third strike foul bunts.
As for pitchers, the individual strikeout does not benefit the pitcher or his team any more than any number of other outs. As I said before, Ks are a signpost statistic, a number that usually indicates other things are going well (or, even more important, that they will continue to go well). A low K pitcher can have a great season here and there, Bill James uses Mark Fidrych as the poster boy for this, but over time the pitchers who can't get a decent number of Ks tend to fall back toward mediocrity. Strikeout pitchers are your best bet to be repeatably good, game-to-game and year-to-year. Cory Lidle was a great case in point last season. He doesn't strike out many hitters, but he pitched a few brilliant games last season. Problem is, he can't do that consistently and his occasional brilliance got more than offset by a fairly regular number of stinkers he tossed in there. There's a trap door there for guys like Lidle that doesn't exist for pitchers like Roger Clemens.
What the pitcher needs to get his job done in the macro, over the course of years, is the opposite of what what a hitter needs to get his job done in the macro. Pitchers need outs and it's hard for them to collect those outs consistently without the K being a big part of it (at least 25%). Hitters need hits and walks and it doesn't really matter what they're doing when they aren't getting those.