Originally Posted by traderumor
I seem to recall that was the intent when Luke was given his first chance before the labrum cost him 2003. Then, when he came back, they claimed he could not get warmed up fast enough to come out of the bullpen, so they made him a starter. He has a lucky six weeks, and the boneheads determine that he is a piece of the rotation puzzle (and I was one of the boneheads until M2 introduced me to BABIP and the cruel nature of that statistical phenomenon).
I hope this doesn't sound too dehumanizing, but Luke's arm is gonna blow out again, especially if he kicks it up a notch in a late inning relief role, but he might be worth a flyer for a couple of good seasons out of the pen before his arm falls off again. But as a starter, forget about it, he just doesn't have the stuff.
I may be snatching at semantics, but "stuff" ain't the problem with Luke. He's still getting chances with this club because he has what most of the club's starting rotation lacks- a bona fide 93-94 mph fastball and a hammer curve, not an Eighty-Seven Express and Mahlerean slop. But with no reliable offspeed pitch (which was worth a try, but Don Gullett didn't do changeups and Vern Ruhle hasn't shown too much tangible in that department yet...yet) and yo-yo mechanics befitting that of a much younger pitcher, it's best for Luke and the club to concentrate on leveraging the strengths he does have rather than try and fix his weaknesses.
Hudson's now 28 years old and post-major surgery. His strengths and weaknesses have likely stabilized by now, for good or ill. I'd love to see a Hudson/Wagner/Coffey 2006 trio of a Nasty sort (and maybe Joe Valentine will spend less time at the eyebrow waxer's and more time throwing strikes, too). Toss in Shackleford (who I don't think is as good as his numbers show, but he does seem to elude enough solid contact that he can be effective) and the veterans Mercker and Weathers and you've got a pretty darn solid bullpen. For the first time in a couple of years.