Look, you’re not going to find a guy more happy to read a love letter to Greg Maddux than me — hell, I’ve written a number of them — but it does seem a little cruel for Tim Kurkjian to spend nearly 1500 words slamming Nats’ pitcher Daniel Cabrera for not being Greg Maddux:
For the first time since 1985, a major league season will be played without Greg Maddux. It will be strange not getting to watch the sixth or seventh best pitcher ever, the best control pitcher of his era and perhaps the smartest pitcher of any era. It doesn’t seem right that as a new season approaches, Maddux isn’t in a starting rotation but Daniel Cabrera is . . .
. . . We have created a generation of robotic pitchers who throw 95 mph but understand little else about the fine art of pitching.
Cabrera is one of those pitchers. Last year, statistically, he was the worst fielding pitcher in the American League, even though he only made one error. In 180 innings, he had 11 assists. In 194 innings, Maddux had 57 assists. When Cabrera was a young pitcher with the Orioles, during a drill, he attempted to catch a rolling ball with his glove down, not up and open, as if he was squashing the ball. “I’ve never seen anything like that in my life,” said one Oriole. “He’s very raw, we know. But it’s like he had never caught a grounder before.”
Last year, Cabrera led the AL with 15 wild pitches. In 841 1/3 career innings, he has 60 wild pitches, only 10 fewer than Maddux had in over six times as many innings. Cabrera was second in the AL with 90 walks last season; in 1995-97, Maddux had 71 walks total. Cabrera also allowed the second-most steals (27 out of 31 attempts) in the AL last year.
Maddux was never good at holding runners, either, but that wasn’t important to him.
And it just kind of goes on like that. Which is strange, because you would think that one wouldn’t need to resort to Daniel Cabrera comparisons in order to praise Greg Maddux, nor would one need resort to Greg Maddux comparisons in order to find fault with Daniel Cabrera. It comes off almost sadistic, which is not something you tend to see from a guy as sunny and enthusiastic as Kurkjian usually is.