The Mets made a move to shore up their starting pitching yesterday, trading Jason Phillips to the Dodgers for Kaz Ishii. The trade ensures that the Mets will have a "reliable" 5th starter to replace Steve Trachsel, who will miss at least three months after back surgery on Saturday. Ishii, a lefty with three years of service in the Majors, has a repertoire of pitches (an 88 mph fastball, cut fastball, changeup and curve), but has struggled with his control. In his three seasons, Ishii has allowed 305 walks in 473 innings. Not too stellar. Then again, Ishii has 36 wins since 2002, which the Daily News reports is 5th for NL lefties.
Despite his lack of control, his coaches have called him clutch. Jim Colborn, his pitching coach with the Dodgers said, "He does stuff that is self-destructive, but he still winds up being successful. That's one of his strengths. He's unbelievable in the clutch. He seems to need his back against the wall to pitch his best." With all those walks, Gothamist is hoping that he's clutch and the change in location helps, or that the Mets hitters are able to get him out of early holes, because if those don't happen, the Mets will be looking for another 5th starter.
Phillips leaves the Mets after 9 years in the organization with a bit of sadness. Last year, he struggled at the plate, hitting .218 in 362 at bats. With the Dodgers, Phillips will be the starting catcher, given an opportunity he never really had with the Mets. We'll be missing those glasses.
Photo by Rick Silva/AP via MLB.com